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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Often Misdiagnosed as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease


In a Letter to the Editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine, two doctors discussed their finding that 22-35 percent of people with pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency) have the diagnosis missed — because the B12 blood test to detect the condition is not reliable!

Connect that dot to this one: B12 deficiency is a common cause of mental confusion in folks over 60. In other words, it’s possible that many people are slapped with a diagnosis of dementia when what they REALLY have is an easily treatable disease — in this case, pernicious anemia.

In fact, one study looking at brain tissue at autopsy showed that half of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia didn’t even have it! They had another cause of their dementia, which often would’ve been treatable.

I recommend that people who’ve been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia should have a thorough evaluation for underlying, contributing factors that a doctor can treat — and possibly reverse. (A few other conditions in seniors that are often mistaken for dementia are hypothyroidism, depression, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, depression, infections, and drug side effects.)

When this type of evaluation and treatment is done, the improvement is often remarkable. The evaluation should be conducted by a holistic physician who knows how to treat the patient (and not just the results of a blood test), and who can take the time to safely wean the patient off of any unneeded medications.


Dr. Teitelbaum, also known as “Dr. T,” is an integrative physician and one of the country’s foremost experts on fatigue, sleep and pain management. The treatment program he developed for combating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia and related conditions has helped hundreds of thousands of sufferers reclaim their health and vitality.

Dr. Teitelbaum is the Medical Director of the National Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and author of the best-selling books, From Fatigued to Fantastic!, Beat Sugar Addiction Now! and Pain Free 1-2-3. He has also authored several landmark scientific studies. Dr. Teitelbaum has firsthand experience with CFS and Fibromyalgia — he battled the condition when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. Since then, he has dedicated his career to developing effective strategies to treat these conditions and educating the millions of people who need help.

Visit his web site to learn more.

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One response to “Vitamin B12 Deficiency Often Misdiagnosed as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease”

  1. Jack Varon says:

    Fructose in your Vit B12 supplement. Definately not a good thing. Will not purchase anything sweetened with Fructose or any other health destroying sweetener.