Tags: Lack | deficiency | Vitamin | B12 | Risk | preterm Birth

Lack of Vitamin B12 Increases Risk of Preterm Birth

Lack of Vitamin B12 Increases Risk of Preterm Birth

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By    |   Wednesday, 25 January 2017 05:24 PM

 

Moms-to-be who are vegetarians should take extra care to make sure they get enough of vitamin B12. A study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found a link between a deficiency in B12 and an increased risk of preterm birth.


Low birth weight and preterm births are the cause of half of all infant deaths during the first month of life.


"Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found only in products of animal origin such as meat, milk and eggs," says Dr. Tormod Rogne of Akershus University Hospital.


The body cannot make vitamin B12, and it is necessary for such vital functions as the production of red blood cells and the production of energy on a molecular level. A deficiency can cause anemia and severe damage to the nervous system.


"In countries where vegetarian diets predominate, such as in India, the percentage of pregnant women with B12 deficiency can exceed two- thirds," Rogne says.


"Low levels of vitamin B12 in pregnant women did not appear to affect the newborn's birth weight," Rogne said. "But we did find that vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy was associated with a 21 percent increased risk of giving birth prematurely."


The results were independent of whether the countries had high, middle or low average incomes.


Vegans are especially vulnerable. "Vegans don't eat any foods of animal origin," said professor Vibeke Videm. "They will thus become B12 deficient if they don't take supplements — regardless of their age, gender and potential pregnancy.


"B12 deficiency is not common in vegetarians who consume dairy products or eggs, because they can easily meet the recommended B12 intakes through these foods," Videm says.


Vegans can get enough B12 by drinking products with added B12, such as soy milk or rice milk, or they can take vitamin supplements.


Preterm babies are born before the end of 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1 in 10 births in the United States are premature, and the numbers are increasing.


The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
 

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Moms-to-be who are vegetarians should take extra care to make sure they get enough of vitamin B12. A study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found a link between a deficiency in B12 and an increased risk of preterm birth. Low birth weight and preterm...
Lack, deficiency, Vitamin, B12, Risk, preterm Birth
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Wednesday, 25 January 2017 05:24 PM
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