Study Find A Link Between Schizophrenia And Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Possible Autism Link
The more we learn about our bodies and brains, the more it appears that a natural diet is and always has been the way to go. A diet consistent with what our ancestors would have eaten over the course of our 100,000 years or so as anatomically modern humans seems to be pretty consistent with what we require to be healthy, happy and fully functioning.
Go figure, right?
Now whether the diet came first and influenced what we became, or if we became what we are first and then adopted the diet that serves us so well is an interesting academic question but not really important. What is important is that we know what we need, and it is roughly the same things we have needed for millennia.
But where we can improve is in helping the elderly and people suffering from conditions our ancestors didn’t understand nor have any real means to deal with effectively.
One new study is working along those lines, looking at the levels of vitamin B12 found in the brains of the elderly and those suffering from schizophrenia and they are coming up with some fascinating stuff.
Researchers examined the brains of th recently deceased, aged from birth to 80 years old, and they found that the levels of Vitamin B12 in the oldest people was ten times lower than in the youngest, indicating a steady decline over time.
Vitamin B12 has been shown to protect the brain by slowing cellular reactions and the production of free radicals, ions that are thought to damage DNA. But abnormally-low levels of B12 can exacerbate this process, and even cause a decrease in metabolism, killing cells.
What researchers found was that in middle-aged people who suffered from schizophrenia, their vitamin B12 levels were only about a third as high as people of a similar age. In patients between 36 and 49 who suffered from schizophrenia, their brain B12 levels were found to be consistent with those of a person approximately 72 years of age.
So the study suggests but can’t prove conclusively that certain neurological conditions could be linked to poor vitamin B12 uptake from the blood to the brain, as the levels of B12 found in the study participant’s blood was not always consistent with that found in the brains.
Scientists have long believed that the human brain has very specific uses for vitamin B12 which we do not yet understand, allowing it to control gene expression and trigger neurological development at various stages of life, particularly during fetal development and early childhood.
A whole new field of research has been opened up as a result of this study that could help us understand and maybe one day prevent debilitating mental imbalances with nothing more than a simple vitamin.