We have studies that show Vitamin b-12 can prevent memory loss. We also have studies that show hearing loss can lead to memory loss. On the Vitamin B-12 insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid will not cover the vitamin. Medicare will not cover hearing aids. I do not know if Medicaid or private insurance covers this. It seems like two simple fixes that can improve Many peoples health and dignity of life. I am always amazed what can be covered and what is not covered. One simple vitamin by pill or injection seems reasonable to me. A hearing aid in my mind is no different then a wheelchair. It seems like our government is letting our elderly population down. The private market follows the example of the offices of Medicare and Medicaid so I have less of a problem with them. don't get me wrong Hearing aids are expensive but if insurance became involved maybe prices would drop. On the other side of the coin the vitamin is cheap when it is compared with in home or care home alternatives. Even a hearing aid is cheaper.
"However, vitamin B12 supplementation appears to have no beneficial effect on performance in the absence of a nutritional deficit."
shows up later in the link, it's good to start here.
There is no harm taking B12, but for most people it does nothing. IF one has a medical condition that lowers/restricts absorption of B12, then you would have or should get test results and recommendations/prescriptions.
(nih = national institute of health)
"Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods, but fortified breakfast cereals are a readily available source of vitamin B12 with high bioavailability for vegetarians [5,13-15]. Some nutritional yeast products also contain vitamin B12. Fortified foods vary in formulation, so it is important to read the Nutrition Facts labels on food products to determine the types and amounts of added nutrients they contain."
"...only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people."
So, what benefit there? .02%
"Vitamin B12 deficiency is characterized by megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss."
"Individuals who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from foods, as well as vegetarians who consume no animal foods, might benefit from vitamin B12-fortified foods, oral vitamin B12 supplements, or vitamin B12 injections." Note "might" and "have trouble absorbing" - this is not the average person.
"Treatment with vitamin B12 plus folic acid reduced homocysteine concentrations by 36%, but neither vitamin B12 treatment nor vitamin B12 plus folic acid treatment improved cognitive function."
"In a trial conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study consortium that included individuals with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, daily supplements of 1 mg vitamin B12, 5 mg folic acid, and 25 mg vitamin B6 for 18 months did not slow cognitive decline compared with placebo . Another study found similar results in 142 individuals at risk of dementia who received supplements of 2 mg folic acid and 1 mg vitamin B12 for 12 weeks."
Two excerpts above indicate NO improvement in cognition or slowing decline in cognition. More testing may be needed, but in general if you are healthy and eat a GOOD diet, there should be no need for additional B12.
For an average person with no medical issues, B12 shouldn't be a concern. The dietary habits of people, American and otherwise, contribute to unhealthy conditions. Focus on eating an appropriate diet. If you eat right and don't feel right, get testing done before just popping pills. BTW - NO ONE regulates the vitamin/supplement industry. That OTC pill you swallow could have 150% of your needs or 10% and you wouldn't know it!
Also, see: https://www.medicare.org/articles/does-medicare-cover-b12-shots/
Part D original Medicare doesn't cover it, but there may be ways to get the shots at reduced/no cost IF it is medically necessary. OTCs won't cut it.
Hearing issues are known to contribute to cognition decline. It does shut you out of the world some, more as it gets worse. This goes along with recommended socialization. If you can't hear, you aren't likely to socialize.
Some insurances cover hearing aids. My mother's and my Medicare Adv plan do. SHE could've had surgery 30+ years ago to correct her hearing issue (otosclerosis) and it would've been covered by her regular insurance. She chose NOT to do it, and has used hearing aids all these years. Eventually this condition leads to total hearing loss. Several years ago she stopped wearing the right one - it didn't help any more. More recently she would misplace it, forget to put it in,forget to change the batteries, and even say she doesn't wear one.
Her dementia at 90+ is likely due to high BP desp treatment
While a shortage of B12 can result in many symptoms, including confusion and memory issues, it does not mean that dementia is caused by lack of B12. If the reason for low B12 can be identified and resolved, either through medication or diet, the conditions should improve, sometimes resolving it completely with no additional medical steps or supplements needed. Other cases require lifelong treatment.
Just to make further the point that one does not lead to the other - I called my mother one time on my way to work. She sounded out of it, so I stopped by. This ended up in a trip to the ER. In this instance, being told to help treat interstitial cystitis by drinking lots of water, she drank TOO much water. The OLD standard of 8-8oz glasses (64 oz) relates to a study done long ago that concluded we need about 64 oz of fluids daily, BUT it leaves out the fact that many fluids occur in our FOOD. So, what she managed to do was wash all the electrolytes out of her system. They had to give her a potassium drip. One of the many issues low potassium can cause is confusion, and SHE was definitely confused this was years before the dementia)! Post drip, resolved that issue and brought back nasty mom, demanding to get out of the hospital.
So, many high or low levels of many bodily necessities can lead to medical issues. FIND the source and resolve that.
My mother was religious about getting regular checkups, etc, and ate a varied diet. Her dementia, as I noted, is more likely vascular, related to her mostly life-long high BP (she has taken meds for this for MANY years - keeps it "under control", but there is still likely damage happening, either from the condition or the medication.
Personally, if there is a way to resolve ANY medical issue without medication, that is my preference. Sometimes conditions like BP, diabetes II, high cholesterol can resolve without medication. I took care of my cholesterol that way. I also read about Fosamax and prefer to take my chances with osteoporosis myself (FWIW bone scans each taken several years apart have shown a little improvement or no change at all. Given the nasty things these drugs can do, I don't want them!)
Various dementias present differently, so there likely isn't one cause. It would be nice if they could determine the cause(s), but for now, we deal with it,
When I look at the label on any B complex vitamin supplement bottle, the daily capsule(s) almost always exceed the RDA percentages by A LOT. I wonder why. My blood test shows that my vitamin B level is within the norm range, not highest, but not lowest either. Would I benefit from some additional Bs? I am tempted to try for a month or so and find out.
I do not know what to tell you about the b vitamins. I do know they are water soluble. In theory you can not overdose or have any toxicity from taking the vitamins. The Neurologist I gave you a link to told my mom and myself in an office visit that in her studying of the b5 or panothinic asid that she lost a patient to suicide from overdosing on that vitamin. It is scary seeing what these vitamins can do. If you want to investigate more along these lines look up holtzehealth.com. If you can find his phone number you can request a free book by saying you heard him on Bishop Jackson's program on Friday March, 20.
The other point I wanted to bring up to you is that in the Health After 50 Newsletter I heard again that hearing loss causes cognitive impairments. They referenced the Journal of American Geriactricts. I am a bad speller.
Here is a link from Dr. Gominac talking about vitamins as they relate to headaches. Knowing her philosophy she will get into good sleep, sleep apnea, and other types of health problems. She is seen as quite controversial. She believes every person should take a multi vitamin, know their Vitamin D3 levels, Take the proper amount of D3, and use a B vitamin called B-100 that has all the B vitamins in the pill. Her treatment was expensive. I am still on the D3 and B-12. I have noticed that when my D3 levels are lower then 60 then I have sleeping problems. Also you have to make sure that you do not exceed 90. I was first diagnosed with Vitamin D difficiantcy by another neurologist. He put me on some medication for headaches that really sent me for a loop. I stopped taking his medication and then was referred to this doctor. When I was first tested I had a vitamin d3 level of 26. By the time I saw Dr. Gominac four months later I was at 51. I do not know how to make the links live on this site. Every link I have seen posted to me or that I have posted is text. Here is the link I found. I will get you her personal link and come back and post it.
You have to make sure you have enough folates, too, mind. B12 deficiency is a reversible cause of dementia; but if the person is also folate deficient then giving B12 without folate supplements will create other problems.
Nutrition is such an intricate, finely balanced process that trying to tackle one aspect of it can often upset something else. Hence the best bet of all is a varied diet with a cheap vitamin supplement to cover any possible gaps. High dose this and supplemental that are often pointless at best. If there's an absorption or uptake problem rather than a dietary intake problem, it's better to address what's obstructing the absorption than just to up the intake.
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan
If you want to be scandalised, get involved in protesting about what diabetics are forced to pay for insulin in the USA.
The bigger problem with hearing aids (I agree that cost is a major barrier, not only because some people can't possibly afford them but also because some people who could afford them are so horrified by the price that they won't even consider buying them) - but anyway, the *bigger* problem than buying them is using them. I wonder how many devices are, as we discuss it, sitting forlorn in their cases, untouched and unloved?
I agree that Vitamin B-12 along with all the other vitamins and minerals we need are in food. I also agree that most vitamins are a waste and are flushed out of your body. I am referring to the pills we can pick up anywhere. I am looking more at the people with problems absorbing the vitamins or minerals found in the food supply. I am talking about the people that have to take injections or prescription Vitamin b-12. For instance I have to take both B-12 and D3. Apparently I do not absorb D3 by sunlight. I have been told that the eyes absorb the sunlight rich vitamin D3. I have a cataract that is on my left eye that would be a waste of money to remove. Then you couple that with my lack of vision and using dark sunshades to protect my eyes from being poked out by some object and that might explain the lack of D3. Because I lack D3 then I end up lacking B-12.
On the other side of the coin my Mom has atrophic gastritis caused by a lack of intrinsic factor. This causes pernissius anemia. Because of that she takes b-12 injections. She is also lacking D3. That goes back to nutrition being a balancing act. Another example of this would be calcium and magnesium needing to work together.
About the hearing aids I see your point about the bigger problem. There was plenty of times when I had some sight that I would not use my blind cane. I think it is a pride issue.
I just found out that Medicare pays for Cochlear implants but they don't pay for hearing aides.
The implant you brought up is covered by Medicare as a device to treat deafness as I understand it. Hearing aids are like eyeglasses. Since they are preventive it seems like they are not covered.
Can vitamin B-12 improve memory in Alzheimer's disease?
Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 deficiency — most common in older adults and vegetarians — can cause various signs and symptoms, including memory loss. In these cases, vitamin B-12 supplements can help improve memory.
Aside from treating vitamin B-12 deficiency, there's no clear evidence that vitamin B-12 supplements improve memory for people with Alzheimer's disease. Some studies suggest low vitamin B-12 levels may be associated with an increased risk of dementia. But supplementation with B vitamins has not been shown to improve brain function or symptoms of memory loss.
Regardless of its role in memory, vitamin B-12 remains an important part of a healthy diet. Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in foods that come from animals, including fish, meat and poultry. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B-12.
If you're concerned that you're not getting enough vitamin B-12 or other specific nutrients, consult your doctor — especially if you're an older adult or a vegetarian.
I am blind and have the privilege of receiving the Health and Nutrition Newsletter magazine from the National Library Service for the Blind. That is a department of the Library of Congress. I heard about the hearing loss causing dementia from either the Mayo Clinic or Health After Fifty Newsletter this year. I would look up the hearing loss on the Mayo Clinic website. The Vitamin B-12 info can be found by looking up anemia vitamin B-12 together or by looking up lack of intrinsic Factor. Also you can look up Stasha Gominac. She was a neurologist in Texas. I was a patient of her's. She left mainstream medicine to focus full time on vitamin D3 and the b vitamins. She has a wealth of articles and videos you can watch. Her D3 research seems to be on track. I would follow her B vitamin views with good judgement along with direction from your doctor. She believes that the lack of vitamin D3 causes the loss of the b vitamins as I stated earlier. The lack of B vitamins is also believed to cause the loss of D3. I will try to find her website link and post it for you.