You may have heard the phrase before, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” If you haven’t, it simply means to look for the simplest explanation for something before branching out to the exotic. This is useful to remember when you’re confronting memory loss. Before you start jumping to conclusions that your memory loss presages something serious, look for simpler causes.
One common cause can be vitamin B-12 deficiency. Without enough B-12, you can suffer from a number of ailments that include mental fog and memory loss. Your body uses vitamin B-12 to keep your red blood cells and your nerve cells humming like they should. It’s an important part of a healthy diet, so you should always make sure that you’re getting enough.
The best source for any vitamin is directly from food. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal products—foods like poultry, fish, and other meats. Unsurprisingly then, vegetarians are at a generally higher risk than others of being vitamin B-12 deficient. However, they aren’t the only ones who can be deficient. It’s also common for older people to have vitamin B-12 deficiencies. Of course, depending on their diets, anyone can be vitamin deficient.
If you are vegetarian or just aren’t getting enough B-12 in your diet regularly, you can get B-12 in food in fortified items like cereal or bread. In addition, supplements are readily available on their own or in multivitamins.
If you’ve tried supplementing your diet or eating more foods rich in B-12 and you’re still experiencing memory issues, then it’s time to consider visiting the doctor. You have a problem with vitamin malabsorption or your memory issues may be more serious.
In addition, while vitamin B-12 can help memory problems caused by B-12 deficiency, it cannot solve more serious ailments. So if you’re already experiencing severe memory lapses, opt for the doctor rather than home remedies.