Researchers took blood samples and measured B-12 levels of two groups of women: those who gave birth to children with spina bifida, and those who gave birth to otherwise healthy children. They also measured the B-12 levels in the blood of both groups of children.
Mothers of children with spina bifida had blood levels of vitamin B-12 that were 21 percent lower than mothers of healthy children. Mothers with the lowest B-12 levels were three times more likely to give birth to a child with spina bifida.
Adult males and females need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 daily. The best sources of vitamin B-12 include animal products, such as organ meats, beef, pork, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy foods. Therefore, vitamin B-12 intake is mostly a concern for vegetarians and vegans who omit these foods and follow plant-based diets. Some foods are fortified with vitamin B-12 and are fair sources of the nutrient. These include: nutritional yeast (100% RDA in 2 teaspoons), fortified cereals (usually 100% RDA per serving), non-dairy alternatives like soy milk (content varies), and vegetarian meat alternatives (content varies). Vegetarians and vegans can also meet their daily need for B-12 by taking a vitamin supplement.
Vitamin B-12 May Prevent Birth Defects
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