Publication Details

Flood, V. M. 2006, 'Vitamin B12 in older Australians', Prevention Research Centres Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 7-7.


The prevalence of low blood levels of the vitamins folate and B12 increase as people age and can lead to several potential poor health outcomes. Low folate can cause gastrointestinal tract disturbances and megaloblastic anaemia (reduced number of abnormally large red blood cells). Low vitamin B12 can also cause anaemia as well as neuropathy (nerve damage) with problems such as difficulties with walking, tingling of the hands and feet, and cognitive decline such as memory loss. We recently published data about a population-based group of 2901 older people in the Blue Mountains, aged 50 years and over, collected as part of the Blue Mountains Cohort Study with the Centre for Vision Research. Low serum vitamin B12 was found in 22.9% of participants and low serum folate in 2.3% of participants. The proportion of people with low serum vitamins increased with age, particularly amongst men.