Vitamin Supplements Essential In Vegetarian Diets
Babies' Mental Delay Tied to Moms' Vegan Diet
The essentiality of vitamins was confirmed once again by the following study.
The breast-fed infants of two mothers who did not eat any animal products, including milk and eggs, developed brain abnormalities as a result of a vitamin-B12 deficiency, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday.
The primary sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development, are animal products like meat, dairy products and eggs. Since the mothers ate little or no animal products, too little vitamin B12 was transmitted to their children through breast milk, according to the CDC.
This serves as a reminder to parents and pediatricians to ensure that both pregnant women and mothers who breast-feed their infants consume enough B12, either through diet or B12-containing supplements.
"You have to make sure you're getting it," they said, in reference to vitamin B12.
And don't abandon breast-feeding altogether. Breast-feeding has many advantages, and mothers who choose to not eat animal products should still continue to breast-feed their infants.
"Vegetarians should absolutely breast-feed, there's no question about that," they said.
In the January 31st issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Jefferds and her colleagues describe the cases of two babies who showed signs of brain abnormalities as a result of a deficiency in vitamin B12.
In one case, doctors examined and diagnosed the deficiency in a 15-month-old child with slow growth and mental development. Her mother said she had avoided consuming all animal products for many years, and had breast-fed the baby for 8 months after birth.
After receiving supplements of vitamin B12, the child began to improve, but was still below her age group in speech and language at 32 months of age.
Jefferds explained in an interview that many children fully recover from vitamin-B12 deficiencies but that, in some cases, a prolonged period of low consumption of vitamin B12 can cause irreversible damage.
"I think it really depends on how severe the deficiency was, and how long it was taking place for," she said.
She added that while both children described in the report showed lingering symptoms of low vitamin B12, over<