A well-balanced diet, including reasonable amounts of animal protein, has long been recommended for older women.

Based on considerable evidence, an added daily dose of vitamin D is also beneficial, especially to older people. Now, new advice from the National Academy of Medicine, as well as increasing research, suggests that a vitamin B12 supplement could also help protect the brain against the effects of aging, says Jane E. Brody.

As Dr. Rajaprabhakaran Rajarethinam, a psychiatrist at Wayne State University School of Medicine, has written, notes Brody, “depression, dementia and mental impairment are often associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, particularly in the elderly. Vitamin B12 also protect parts of the brain attacked by Alzheimer’s disease.

Then why not simply eat more animal protein, the only reliable source of vitamin B12? As people age, acid-producing cells in the stomach gradually lose function or cease to function altogether. Daily supplements then become an important source.

Read more at The New York Times

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