Nutrients are crucial to the proper functioning of all body systems, and this is true for neurological function. Certain vitamin deficiencies can cause or contribute to neurological problems.
At Neurology Specialists of Albuquerque, board-certified neurologist Timothy Ownbey, DO, wants patients to know the facts about the link between vitamin deficiency and neurological symptoms. As a provider specializing in the treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries and diseases, Dr. Ownbey understands the importance of considering how nutrition may play a role in improving neurological function.
It’s been established that a prolonged lack of certain vitamins can affect neurological function. A deficiency of Vitamin D, B-12, or E is most strongly linked to neurological problems. Let’s discuss the connection in detail.
While vitamin B-12 is most notably known for helping the body make red blood cells, it also plays an important role in nervous system function. B-12 deficiency can cause several neurological symptoms, including:
Because the liver stores several years of B-12, deficiency only occurs after there has been a long-standing insufficiency.
Low vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that dementia develops over the course of 15 to 20 years. While this doesn’t suggest that vitamin D deficiency causes dementia, low blood levels are linked to poor cognitive function and a higher chance of developing dementia.
A study published in December 2022 found that high vitamin D levels in the brain are linked with improved cognitive function.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells in the body from free radical damage, and deficiency can lead to neurological problems. Issues that may arise include problems coordinating movements, issues with speech, and peripheral neuropathy — a type of nerve damage that causes numbness and tingling in the hands of feet, shooting pains, burning sensations, and balance problems.
In addition to these nutrients, deficiencies in other B vitamins, particularly B-6, folate, and thiamine can cause a broad spectrum of neurological issues from memory loss to limb weakness.
If you suspect that you may have a nutrient deficiency linked to your neurological symptoms, Dr. Ownbey will discuss the best approach to addressing it. Because certain vitamin deficiencies can cause neurological symptoms, Dr. Ownbey considers this when evaluating patients with neurological symptoms.
At Neurology Specialists of Albuqurque, our goal is to provide our patients with the best possible care. If you or a loved one is experiencing neurological symptoms, the first step is to visit a neurology specialist for a thorough evaluation. To schedule a visit with Dr. Ownbey at our Albuquerque, New Mexico, clinic, call or book your request online today.