Vitamin B12 Metabolism and Status during Pregnancy, Lactation and Infancy

  • Lindsay H. Allen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 352)


It is generally assumed that vitamin B12 deficiency only occurs during pregnancy and lactation in women who have consumed no animal products for a substantial period of time. However, recently it has emerged that pregnant women who have been strict vegetarians for only a few years, and even omnivores who consume low amounts of animal products, are more likely to become vitamin B12 deficient during pregnancy and lactation, to give birth to an infant who develops clinical or biochemical signs of B12 deficiency, and/or to have low levels of this vitamin in their breast milk. Also, there is recent evidence that vitamin B12 deficiency may be more prevalent in women and infants in some developing countries than formerly appreciated. In view of the potential for vitamin B12 deficiency to cause permanent neurological damage, it is important to understand the relationships between maternal intake and metabolism of vitamin B12 during pregnancy and lactation, and their impact on the mother, fetus, neonate, and secretion of the vitamin in breast milk.


Breast Milk Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic Anemia Breastfed Infant Corrin Ring 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay H. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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