Vitamin B12 Deficiency Weakens Brain Development In Children

First Posted: Mar 28, 2017 03:08 AM EDT

A new study indicates that children with vitamin B12 deficiency could weaken their brain development. These include difficulties solving the cognitive tests like identifying letters, answering and resolving puzzles and comprehending the emotions of other children.

The findings of the study were printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study was led by Ingrid Kvestad at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway, and other colleagues, according to Medical News Today.

Kvestad has linked the low level of vitamin B12 in children with a decrease in test scores at the age of 5. She further said that the results of their study show the associations of early vitamin B12 status and the brain development that involves cognitive functioning.

Kvestad added that providing the solution for children with vitamin B12 deficiency at an early age could enhance their healthy development. They see children in low-income countries, particularly the South Asia, that could be much affected by vitamin B12 deficiency.

In the study, the scientists gathered blood from 500 infants in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Then, they gauged their vitamin B12 status. After nearly five years, the researchers examined again 320 of these children. They required them to answer various developmental and cognitive tests.

Kvestad and her team found that most of the children had suboptimal vitamin B12 status. This was below the recommendations for best possible growth and development. The study could also aid the researchers in understanding the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency on small children's cognitive development.

Vitamin B12 known as cobalamin has a significant role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is considered the largest and most complex vitamin.

This water-soluble vitamin also develops the red blood cells. Vitamin B12 could be produced through bacterial fermentation-synthesis. The sources of vitamin B12 includes fish, shellfish, fortified soy products such as tofu and soy milk, crab, red meat, cheese, fortified cereals, eggs, low-fat dairy and supplements. Vitamin B12 deficiency could increase the risk of developing depression, anemia, fatigue and mania. Meanwhile, having a long-term deficiency could harm the brain and central nervous system.

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