Memory impairment from B12 deficiency
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Brian felt that his memory wasn’t as sharp as it used to be, but just put it down to aging, when his wife of the same age said, “yes but darling, my memory is fine and I’m the same age as you, so go and see Sue”. And he did.
On first observations with blood screening it seemed that Brian’s B12 levels were very low, but he was eating plenty of B12 rich foods. Being a bit of a steak man, Brian couldn’t understand why this would be the case, but other observations of Brian’s blood indicated that he may have signs of ‘leaky gut syndrome’, so we investigated this further with a comprehensive digestive stool test.
Sure enough, that was the case. Leaky Gut makes it very difficult to absorb nutrients properly. Brian also had inflammation in his gut and antibodies to gluten (low level but still noteworthy). It’s hard to say what triggered the initial cascade of events, but Brian now had a gluten intolerance – and later found out that dairy didn’t suit him either.
We used a gut restoration diet (Leaky Gut Diet) which was gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. Removing dairy, sugar and gluten helped to reduce the inflammation.
After a couple of months on the new diet and the restoration program, Brian’s memory was considerably better and he had much more energy. His B12 levels naturally improved without the need for supplements.
Many of my clients’ memory issues improved with B12 supplementation, but as soon as they stopped taking it, their memory dropped again. This indicates a problem with the gut and absorption.
However, some clients choose not to have the tests or change their diet, so taking B12 without correcting the reason why it is low is only a band aid job and may lead to other complications.
In Brian’s case, if he had continued eating gluten and dairy foods he would more than likely have developed an auto-immune disorder or some other health condition more serious than a B12 deficiency.
Always work with your practitioner so that you can get to the root cause of your health concerns rather than just taking pills of any kind, pharmaceutical or natural.