Which vitamin deficiencies may cause mental status changes?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

A deficiency of vitamin B-1 (thiamine) can occur in people who rely on alcohol for calories or patients with advanced malignancies or malabsorption syndromes. Acute and severe thiamine depletion can lead to Wernicke encephalopathy, marked by oculomotor disturbances, ataxia, and confabulation. If this condition is left untreated, Korsakoff psychosis may develop. Wernicke encephalopathy is a common and underdiagnosed cause of chronic cognitive impairment in people with alcoholism. [76]

Deficiency of vitamin B-12, folate, or both may produce depression or dementia. Very rarely, these deficiencies may result in delusional thinking.


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