Vitamin Power – Brief Article

Vitamin Power – Brief Article

Brian Arundel

Here’s one more reason to take your vitamins seriously: Two recent studies suggest that vitamin deficiency is associated with depression and dementia in the elderly.

The first study, conducted by the National Institute on Aging, found that disabled women over age 65 with a vitamin B12 deficiency were twice as likely to suffer from depression as those with a full store of the vitamin. The report, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, indicates that 27% of the women studied who were severely depressed were deficient in B12, compared to only 17% of mildly depressed women and 15% of the more content participants. It’s not clear from these findings, however, whether taking vitamin B12 will help relieve depression in the elderly, warns Brenda Perminx, Ph.D., an assistant geriatrics professor at the Sticht Center on Aging in North Carolina and the study’s lead author.

In related research, men who took vitamins C and E seemed to have mental abilities that were superior, on the average, to those men who did not. The study of 3,300 Japanese-American men, published recently in Nature, reinforces growing evidence that antioxidants offer protection against damage from free radicals–unstable molecules that play a role in more than 60 health conditions, including the aging process. According to Kamal Masaki, M.D., study author and University of Hawaii associate geriatrics professor, “antioxidants like vitamins E and C may protect against vascular dementia by limiting the amount of brain damage that persists after a stroke.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

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