Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Vitamin B12 and brain development.

Stollhoff K, Schulte FJ. (1987) Eur J Pediatr.  1987 Mar;146(2):201-5  

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here

Abstract:

This is a report of a 1 1/2-year-old male with megaloblastic anaemia and a progressive neurological disorder clinically resembling leucodystrophy.

The child was exclusively breast fed and his mother had been a strict vegetarian for more than 4 years before the child was born.

After Vitamin B12 therapy the anaemia disappeared and the neurological condition dramatically improved.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

As this case study illustrates, Vitamin B12 deficiency can seriously damage infant health and development - particularly that of the brain and nervous system.

Vegan diets lack Vitamin B12, so adequate supplementation of this nutrient is essential for anyone following such a diet - but it is particularly crucial during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

The diet of this mother is described as 'vegetarian' - but the fact that her child was deficient enough in Vitamin B12 to show overt neurological symptoms indicates that she did not obtain sufficient B12 from eggs and/or dairy products to meet the needs of her unborn child.