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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Mineral and Vitamin Interventions for At-risk Populations

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research


item Deegan, Kathleen
item Ramirez-zea, Manuel
item Zuleta, Clara
item Lildballe, Dorte
item Nexo, Ebba
item Allen, Lindsay

Submitted to: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/11/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: High dose vitamin B-12 supplements (=750 µg/day) did improve maternal status and increase milk B-12 concentration in a sample of women, this is not an effective or efficient method for improving infant vitamin B-12 status. Given the potential adverse effects of vitamin B-12 deficiency on infant development there is need for a more effective approach. Since maternal vitamin B-12 status is also of concern, and both maternal and infant vitamin B-12 deficiency and depletion are common in populations consuming low intakes of ASF, policies such as vitamin B-12 fortification of flour, or maternal supplementation prior to conception and during pregnancy, should be evaluated for their effectiveness.

Technical Abstract: Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common in mothers and infants where maternal intake of animals source foods is low. The first six months post-partum is a critical period of neurological development requiring vitamin B-12. A pilot study was designed to determine the dose of B-12 to the mothers that would normalize infant B-12 status in vitamin B-12 depleted lactating women and their infants in Guatemala. Women were screened for marginal serum B-12 status (150-220 pmol/L), then randomized to one of six doses (rang 3 to 1000 µg/d) for two months. After one month, a dose response was observed in maternal serum B-12 (r=0.77, P<0.001) and milk B-12 (r=0.78, P<0.001), but not in infant serum B-12 (r=0.15, P<0.001) or infant UMMA (r=-0.13, P<0.33). After 2 months the significant dose response in maternal serum and milk B-12 concentrations persisted, but no supplementation level produced normal B-12 status in all infants (serum B-12 <250 pmol/L).

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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