Vital Role Of Nutrition Essay

2447 words - 10 pages

Nutrition is essential to healthy aging; it has been shown to play a vital role in the development of dementia, memory loss, vitamin deficiencies and stroke. An estimated 10%–30% of people over the age of 65 suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency most commonly caused by malabsorption. It is advised that people over 70 years of age obtain 2.4 μg/day of Vitamin B12. People suffering from inadequate Vitamin B12 levels can experience fatigue, weight loss, weakness, depression, memory impairment, heart attack and stroke. Elderly patients should be monitored for serum levels <450 ng/L. Adequate supplementation of Vitamin B12 will reduce depression, fatigue, homocysteine concentrations, brain atrophy. In the aging population an increased nutritional supplement of >500 μg/day of Vitamin B12 will not only prevent but also promote recovery from strokes while reducing cognitive decline.

While aging is a natural progression of life, healthy aging is of the upmost importance to ensure the quality of life of elderly people. Often aging can be accompanied by memory loss or confusion. In the past few decades the study of age related cognitive decline has come to the forefront of the scientific community. Considerable research has been done to help identify etiology, prevention and treatment. As the mean age of Canadians increases there is a push to help combat cognitive decline in order to ease the burden on not only the medical community but families as well. Cognitive degeneration in the form of long term memory loss can have many root causes most notably Alzheimer's, dementia and strokes. This deterioration prevents people from performing their daily activities and retaining their independence.

Nutrition has been shown to play a vital role in the development of dementia, memory loss, stroke and vitamin deficiencies. In recent years it has been discovered what physicians once thought was dementia or even a stroke was often in fact a vitamin deficiency. Given what we currently know regarding nutrition’s fundamental role to our overall health why are more elderly patients not screened for nutritional deficiencies as part of their yearly physical? How is it possible that a lack of just one vitamin can mimic one of the most prevalent diseases effecting the elderly population? The scientific community has long studied the role of Vitamin B12 in the human body. This water soluble vitamin is essential for DNA and RNA synthesis, myelin coating, the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, the absorption of fats and proteins and the creation of red blood cells (Manolis et al 2013). While researchers currently disagree as to the degree of Vitamin B12s function in healthy aging this literature review will focus on its critical role in cognitive decline and stroke.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies are often difficult for physicians to identify as it can present with multiple symptoms or be asymptomatic as the stores in the body are depleted (Lachner et al. 2012)....

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