[Severe vitamin B12 deficiency in infants breastfed by vegans]

Rigshospitalet, Børneafdelingen, Klinisk Genetisk Afdeling, og Hvidovre Hospital, Børneafdelingen, Denmark.
Ugeskrift for laeger 10/2009; 171(43):3099-101.
Source: PubMed


Weight loss and reduction of motor skills resulted in paediatric evaluation of a 10-month-old girl and a 12-month-old boy. Both children suffered form anaemia and delayed development due to vitamin B12 deficiency caused by strict maternal vegan diet during pregnancy and nursing. Therapy with cyanocobalamin was instituted with remission of symptoms. Since infants risk irreversible neurologic damage following severe vitamin B12 deficiency, early diagnosis and treatment are mandatory. Vegan and vegetarian women should take vitamin B12 supplementation during the pregnancy and nursing period.

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    ABSTRACT: Clinical observations suggest that children born to vegan mothers may be at risk of severe neurodevelopmental impairments due to vitamin B12 (1-3), which is to be expected, as this vitamin is exclusively found in food of animal origin (4). Thus, children born to all vegetarians, not just vegans, may be at increased risk of impaired neurodevelopment if they have an insufficient intake of dietary supplements (5). As a result, it has been suggested that mothers should be warned about the impact of vegetarianism, in particular a vegan diet, during childbearing. The aim of this study was to use an existing large-scale population-based cohort to examine the association between maternal vegetarianism and the risk of impaired neurodevelopment, including more subtle impairments, in children. We initiated the present study based on the clinical observations described in Text Box 1 in order to improve the evidence for dietary counselling of pregnant vegetarians.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Acta Paediatrica 07/2014; 103(11). DOI:10.1111/apa.12761 · 1.67 Impact Factor