Is low B12 level associated with depressive symptoms?
The worldwide prevalence of B12 deficiency is estimated to be around 6%. However, the prevalence is higher in adults over 60 years of age.
The most common clinical symptom of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency is megaloblastic anemia. Previous studies have found that low vitamin B12 levels are associated with poor memory in men.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can accelerate cognitive decline and become an irreversible cause of dementia if left untreated for a long time. Therefore, if older adults with B12 deficiency are identified and treated in a timely manner, cognitive impairment becomes reversible or preventable.
In a study conducted in Ireland, the effect of folate and B12 levels on depressive symptoms was examined. The elderly population observed for 4 years was included in the study.
This study looked at the relationship between participants’ baseline folate and B12 levels and their depressive symptoms at 2 and 4 years. B12 and folate levels were determined by microbiological analysis and depression scales were applied.
According to the results of the study, both B12 and folate levels were lower in the group with depressive symptoms than in those who were not depressed. Regression models showed that participants with low B12 levels at baseline were significantly more likely to have depression four years later, but there was no such relationship for folate.
Older adults with low B12 levels were 51% more likely to develop depressive symptoms over 4 years.This finding remained the same after controlling for relevant covariates such as physical activity, chronic disease burden, vitamin D level, cardiovascular disease, and antidepressant use.
The findings reveal the effect of B12 level on depressive symptoms in the elderly and the importance of food supplementation policy in preventing depressive symptoms in older adults.
– Laird, E., O’Halloran, A., Molloy, A., Healy, M., Hernandez, B., O’Connor, D., … Briggs, R. (2021). Low vitamin B12 but not folate is associated with incident depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older adults: A 4 years longitudinal study _ British Journal of Nutrition, 1-22. doi:10.1017/S0007114521004748.
– Nalder, L., Zheng, B., Chiandet, G., Middleton, LT, & de Jager, CA (2020). Vitamin B12 and folate Status in Cognitively healthy Older adults oath associations with cognitive Performance. the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 25(3), 287–294. doi:10.1007/s12603-020-1489-y.