B complex is a group of vitamins including thiamin (vitamin
B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
and others. Vitamin B is found in liver, grain, and other
food sources. Vitamin B deficiency can cause beriberi, digestive
disturbances, degeneration of the sex glands, and neurological
problems. Excessive doses of some B vitamins can also cause
nervous system damage.
Several B complex vitamins have been specifically
implicated in memory and memory disorders.
Thiamin is found in whole grains, beans,
nuts, egg yolk, fruit and vegetables. It is particularly important
for the body to be able to convert carbohydrates into energy.
Mild deficiencies in thiamin can result in impaired carbohydrate
metabolism and irritability; severe deficiency can result
in various nervous disorders including Korsakoff's
disease, characterized by severe memory disorders as well
as disorientation and hallucination.
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products
(e.g. meats, eggs, dairy products). Most of the B12 needed
by humans is synthesized by the body, and so external sources
are not normally required. However, prolonged use of antibiotics
can destroy the intestinal bacteria that produce B vitamins;
in such cases, a doctor often recommends the patient take
a daily vitamin supplement. Vitamin B12 is essential for the
formation of red blood cells. Since red blood cells carry
oxygen in the bloodstream, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead
to anemia and body
tissues may not get sufficient oxygen. In the brain, this
can lead to neuron damage and symptoms such as mood disturbance,
dementia and psychosis. See also hypoxia.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain