Memory loss happens, and not just to the elderly. The most common causes of severe memory loss are dementia (Alzheimer’s disease), drug abuse, brain damage, and neurological illness. Even minor memory loss can be debilitating, if it goes on for years. Reduced cognitive skills- brain fog, mental fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, and yes- memory loss are usually symptoms of an underlying condition that require medical attention.
Here are 6 unusual causes of memory loss that you haven’t considered:
Not getting your vitamin B12
One of the many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is cognitive impairment. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is necessary for red blood cell distribution. If you have low levels of vitamin B12, then your brain is not receiving enough oxygen, and the results are symptoms like memory loss, decreased mental focus, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty understanding new concepts.
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
- Painful numbness in the extremities
- Lack of muscular coordination
- Muscular pains
- Frequently dropping things and stumbling
- Skin itching
- Eye twitches
Also read Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging
A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic reveals that elderly individuals who eat between 2,100 and 6,000 calories each day are twice as likely to suffer mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than people who don’t overeat.
- Survey information collected from 1,233 elderly residents of Olmstead County, Minnesota found a direct link between high caloric intake and memory loss.
- Study participants were asked to submit a questionnaire regarding their eating habits, including calorie intake.
- While none of the participants suffered from dementia, 163 did experience symptoms of cognitive impairment such as memory loss.
- After reviewing survey results, scientists noted that most of the people who had MCI overate, making them twice as likely to suffer from short-term memory loss.
Being a male
In a recent report by the Mayo Clinic on aging, researchers found that elderly men are more likely to suffer from memory loss than women of the same age. In a study of 1,450 test subjects, 296 showed signs of mild cognitive impairment, with an incidence rate of 7.2% for males and 5.7% for females.
Being stressed out
When you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed, you become fatigued. Your brain becomes overstimulated, and unless you give it a break, you’ll suffer signs of cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and disorientation. There exists a high correlation between many types of mental illness (bi-polar disorder, severe depression, and anxiety disorder) and attention deficit disorders.
“Brain fog” is a common complaint among people who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and celiac disease. If you also suffer symptoms like severe stomach pain, diarrhea, constant muscular soreness, or daily headaches, then consult your doctor immediately.
(Also read: 6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease)
Not getting your Omega-3’s
A recent study published by Neurology indicated that people who are low in omega-3 fatty acids have significantly less brain mass and more symptoms of cognitive impairment than people who eat healthy amounts of omega-3’s.
- Using MRI testing and blood samples, researchers observed 1,500 elderly individuals who had no prior history for dementia.
- Participants who had the lowest levels of DHA omega-3 fatty acids had the least brain mass, putting them in the bottom 25% range.
- Also, subjects with the lowest omega-3 intake performed poorly on cognitive skill testing, including visual memory, abstract thinking skills, and executive function.
- Overall, low omega-3 levels accounted for accelerated brain aging and atrophy by two years.
Please tell us…
- Do you have trouble remembering words that used to roll off your tongue?
- Do you find yourself forgetting to do things unless you write yourself a memo?
- Have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?
- Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below!
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Read more about memory loss and vitamin B12:
5 Ways to Ruin your Memory without getting Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Brain Fog: 20 Ways to Deal
How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain
Overeating May Double The Risk Of Memory Loss
Mayo Clinic Finds Mild Cognitive Impairment is Common, Affects Men Most
Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging
Memory loss: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
DerrickT, TheAlieness GiselaGiardino², David Castillo Dominici, stockvault