Low plasma vitamin B-12 in Kenyan school children is highly prevalent and improved by supplemental animal source foods.
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The high prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency in many regions of the world is becoming recognized as a widespread public health problem, but it is not known to what extent this deficiency results from a low intake of the vitamin or from its malabsorption from food. In rural Kenya, where a previous study identified a high prevalence of inadequate vitamin B-12 intakes, this study examined whether plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations were associated with dietary sources of the vitamin at baseline and could be increased by supplementation with animal source foods (ASF). The 4 experimental groups in 503 school children were: 1) control (no food provided); 2) githeri (a maize and bean staple with added oil); 3) githeri + meat (githeri + minced beef); or 4) githeri + milk (githeri + milk). Feedings were isocaloric. Dietary data were collected at baseline, and biochemical data at baseline and after 1 and 2 y of feeding. Baseline plasma vitamin B-12 concentration was 193.6 +/- 105.3 pmol/L and correlated with % energy from ASF (r = 0.308, P < 0.001). The odds ratio for low plasma vitamin B-12 (<148 pmol/L), which occurred in 40% of children, was 6.28 [95% CI: 3.07-12.82] for the lowest vs. highest ASF intake tertile (P < 0.001). Feeding ASF (meat or milk) greatly reduced the prevalence of low plasma vitamin B-12 (P < 0.001). The high prevalence of low plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations in these children is predicted by a low intake of ASF, and supplemental ASF improves vitamin B-12 status
CitationJ Nutr. 2007 Mar;137(3):676-82
Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA:ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095Global Livestock-CRSP, University of California, Davis, CA 95616University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
- Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)