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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Lindsay Allen

Center Director




Office:   430 West Health Sciences Drive

University of California, Davis

Davis, CA 95616


Phone:   (530) 752-5276


Fax:        (530) 752-5271



       Allen Lab






Dr. Allen has been the Center Director of the USDA, ARSWesternHumanNutritionResearchCenter since 2004. She was formerly a Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, where she is now an adjunct Research Professor.


Dr. Allen's research focuses on the prevalence, causes and consequences of micronutrient deficiencies, primarily in developing countries. She has evaluated interventions with micronutrient supplements, food fortification and food-based approaches to improve nutritional status, pregnancy outcome and child development, resulting in over two hundred publications from many countries.


One of her most important achievements has been to document the widespread high prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency. Her research investigates the adverse functional consequences of this deficiency on infants, children and women in developing countries and elderly in the USA, and the effects of different interventions to alleviate this deficiency. These interventions have included supplements for lactating women, infants and children, animal source foods (meat and milk), and intramuscular injection of high doses. She is part of a team testing the use of 14C-vitamin B12, measured by accelerator mass spectrometry, for measuring vitamin B12 absorption and bioavailability in various conditions. Her laboratory is currently collaborating in the development and evaluation of a new combined indicator of vitamin B12 status, cB12.


Dr. Allen's laboratory has recently developed efficient mass spectrometry and HPLC methods for the measurement of multiple vitamins simultaneously in human milk. Application of these methods is revealing poor breast milk micronutrient content in some populations consuming poor quality diets, and enabling assessment of the impact of maternal supplementation on breast milk quality.


Dr. Allen has served on ten committees of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, including the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. She has advised many national, bilateral and international organizations including WHO, UNICEF, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, PAHO and FAO. She is principal author of the book "What Works? A Review of the Efficacy and Effectiveness of Nutrition Interventions", and of WHO's "Guidelines on Food Fortification with Micronutrients".


She served as President of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences and the Society for International Nutrition Research, and Vice President of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences. From the American Society for Nutrition she received the Kellogg Prize for International Nutrition, the Conrad A. Elvehjem Award for Public Service in Nutrition and the McCollum International Lectureship. Dr. Allen is currently a member of the steering committee of the Micronutrient Forum and the International Nutrition Foundation, and Chair of the NIH's Biomarkers in Nutrition and Development Expert Panel on Vitamin B12.SPAN>


Research Program


Current research projects include:

••            Metabolomic and functional effects of vitamin B12 status and supplementation

••            Development and validation of cB12, a new combined indicator of vitamin B12 status

••            Longitudinal changes in B vitamin status in elderly Latino Hispanics, and associations with cognitive function

••            Effects of lipid-based nutrient supplements on micronutrient status (multiple studies)

••            Assessment of multiple micronutrients in human milk and response to supplementation (multiple studies)

••            Development of Reference Values for micronutrients in human milk

••            Vitamin B12 supplementation of deficient Chilean elderly with high folic acid intakes

••            Animal source food supplementation of HIV+ women in Kenya


Selected Articles (last 3 years)

1.      Pedersen, T.L., Keyes, W.R., Shahab-Ferdows, S., Allen, L.H., Newman, J.W. 2011. Methylmalonic acid quantification in low serum volumes by UPLC-MS/MS. Journal of Chromatography B. 879(19):1502-6.

2.      Dror, D.K., Allen, L.H. 2011. The importance of milk and other animal-source foods for children in low-income countries. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 32(3): 227-243.

3.      Dror, D.K., Allen, L.H. 2011. Vitamin E deficiency in developing countries. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 32(2):124-143.

4.      Van Ommen, B., El-Sohemy, A., Hesketh, J., Kaput, J., Fenech, M., Evelo, T., Mcardle, H.J., Bouwman, J., Lietz, G., Mathers, J.C., Fairweather-Tait, S., Van Kranen, H., Elliott, R., Wopereis, S., Ferguson, L.R., Meplan, C., Perozzi, G., Allen, L.H. 2010. The micronutrient genomics project: a community-driven knowledge base for micronutrient research. 5(4):285-296.

5.      Dror, D.K., Allen, L.H. 2010. Vitamin D inadequacy in pregnancy: biology, outcomes, and interventions. Nutrition Reviews. 68(8):465-477.

6.      Dror, D.K., King, J.C., Durand, D.J., Allen, L.H. 2010. Association of modifiable and nonmodifiable factors with vitamin D status in pregnant women and neonates in Oakland, CA. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 111:111-116.

7.      Garrod, M.G., Allen, L.H., Haan, M.N., Green, R., Miller, J.W. 2010. Transcobalamin C776G genotype modifies the association between vitamin B12 and homocysteine in older Hispanics. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 64:503-509.

8.   Allen, L.H. 2010. Bioavailabilty of Vitamin B12. Intl J of Vit Res. 80(4-5):330-5.

9.      Allen, L.H., Peerson, J.M. 2009. Impact of multiple micronutrient vs. iron - folic acid supplements on maternal anemia and micronutrient status in pregnancy. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 30(4):S527-32.

10.      Margetts, B.M., Fall, C.H., Ronsmans, C., Allen, L.H., Fisher, D.J. 2009. Multiple micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy in low-income countries: Review of methods and characteristics of studies included in the meta-analysis. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 30:S517-S526.

11.  Allen, L.H., Rosenberg, I.H., Oakley, G.P., Omenn, G.S. 2010. Considering the case for vitamin B12 fortification of flour. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 31(1):S36-46.

12.  Miller, J.W., Garrod, M.G., Allen, L.H., Haan, M.N., Green, R. 2009. Metabolic evidence of vitamin B-12 deficiency, including high homocysteine and methylmalonic acid and low holotranscobalamin, is more pronounced in older adults with elevated plasma folate. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 90:1586-1592.

13.  Allen, L.H., Peerson, J.M., Olney, D.K. 2009. Provision of multiple rather than two or fewer micronutrients more effectively improves growth and other outcomes in micronutrient-deficient children and adults. Journal of Nutrition. 139: 1022-1030.

14.  Olney, D.K., Kariger, P.K., Stoltzfus, R.J., Khalfan, S.S., Ali, N.S., Tielsch, J.M., Sazawal, S., Black, R., Pollitt, E., Allen, L.H. 2009. Development of nutritionally at-risk young children is predicted by malaria, anemia, and stunting in Pemba, Zanzibar. Journal of Nutrition. 139:763-772.

15.  Allen, L.H. 2009. How common is vitamin B12 deficiency? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 89:693S-696S.

16.  Lildballe, D.L., Hardlei, T.F., Allen, L.H., Nexo, E. 2009. High concentrations of haptocorrin interfere with routine measurement of cobalamins in human serum and milk. A problem and its solution. Clinical Chemistry & Laboratory Medicine. 47:182-187.

17.  Allen, L.H. 2008. Priority areas for research on the intake, composition and health effects of nuts and peanuts. Journal of Nutrition. 138:9, 1736S-1756S, 2008.

18.  Allen, L.H. 2009. Limitations of current micronutrient status indicators. Nutrition Reviews. 67:S21-23.

19.  Garrod, M.G., Green, R., Allen, L.H., Mungas, D.M., Jagust, W.J., Haan, M.N., Miller, J.W. 2008. The fraction of total plasma vitamin B12 bound to transcobalamin correlates with cognitive function in elderly Latinos with depressive symptoms. Clinical Chemistry. 54:7, 1210-1217.

20.  Black, R.E., Caulfield, L.E., Allen, L.H., Bhutta, Z.A., De Onis, M., Mathers, C., Ezzati, M., Rivera, J. 2008. Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences. Lancet. 371:243-260.

21.  Allen, L.H. 2008. To What Extent Can Food-Based Approaches Improve Micronutrient Status?Asia Pacific Journal Clincial Nutrition. 17(S1):103-105.

22.  Kaiser, L.L., Allen, L.H. 2008. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 108:553-561.

23.  Yang, Z., Dewey, K.G., Lonnerdal, B., Hernell, O., Chaparro, C., Adu-Afarwuah, S., Mclean, E.D., Cohen, R.J., Domellof, M., Allen, L.H., Brown, K. 2008. Comparison of plasma ferritin concentration with the ratio of plasma transferrin receptor to ferritin in estimating body iron stores: results of 4 intervention trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87:1892-1898.

24.  Allen, L.H. 2008. Causes of Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 29(2):S20-S34.

25.  Mclean, E., Benoist, B., Allen, L.H. 2008. Review of the magnitude of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies worldwide. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 29(2):S38-S51.

26.  Dror, D.K., Allen, L.H. 2008. Effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on neurodevelopment in infants: current knowledge and possible mechanisms. Nutrition Reviews. 66(5):250-255.






Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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