Don't delay your care at Mayo Clinic
Brain tumor, breast cancer, colon cancer, congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia. See more conditions.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
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.
Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.