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B12 for improved brain function

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Interested in boosting brainpower and warding off signs of mental aging? Vitamin B12 may be the answer

Interested in boosting brainpower and warding off signs of mental aging? Vitamin B12 may be the answer. This water-soluble nutrient contributes to DNA synthesis, red blood cells and nerve conduction. It can be taken by injection, or as cynaocobalamin and methylcobalamin supplements, the latter being the most active.

A B12 deficiency occurs over time and can cause depression and impaired mental function. Studies have shown that methylcobalamin improves sleep quality and feelings of alertness and concentration. Naturopathic physician Michael Murray suggests three milligrams daily upon awakening for one month and one mg thereafter for daily maintenance.

New research from the University of Tokushima suggests methylcobalamin may also help slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease that attacks nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord.

Japanese researchers examined the survival rates of ALS patients. Of 18 patients who received high doses of intravenous B12, 11 remained alive from one year to three-and-a-half years after treatment. In a non-treated group of 16 ALS patients, all died between six months and two years and eight months. The results were presented May 2003 at a Japanese Society of Neurology meeting.

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