Sadly, a report was published today of a vegan mother in Italy whose infant developed B12 deficiency and the typical neurological issues that go along with it.
The mother had taken a multivitamin with 2.5 µg of B12 during her 2nd and 3rd trimester. The baby had been born small (3rd percentile for weight). He was then exclusively breast fed and the mother ceased the multivitamin.
The infant developed both B12 and iron deficiency by five months. Seven months of treatment with B12 and iron resulted in drastic improvement in neurological symptoms, but not a full recovery at that time.
The case underscores the need for exclusively nursing mothers to ensure they have a reliable source of vitamin B12 so that their breast milk has adequate amounts. A baby should be born with iron stores to last 6 months, but this boy was not. Not much information was given about any attempts to monitor the mother’s iron levels during pregnancy or the baby’s after birth ― apparently not much was done.
I’m hoping for some better vegan health news as the week progresses…
Guez S, Chiarelli G, Menni F, Salera S, Principi N, Esposito S. Severe vitamin B12 deficiency in an exclusively breastfed 5-month-old Italian infant born to a mother receiving multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy. BMC Pediatr. 201 Jun 24;12(1):85. | link