Children and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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There are children who are brain-damaged as a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Some of these children are born with an inability to properly metabolize B12, and this condition was not detected at birth.  In other cases, they were born to mothers who are overly concerned with their health, who exclude animal proteins from their diets.  Such diets are known as vegetarian or vegan.

Women today are concerned with unnecessary hormone injections in cows, chickens and pigs.  The implications of these hormones on humans are not yet known.  In addition, documentaries have reported that most farm animals are mistreated and bombarded with antibiotics, then sold to grocery stores for consumers.  Who would want to knowingly ingest such an animal and risk developing an antibiotic resistant illness?

Our generation is also well aware of the medical literature that reports higher mortality rates due to obesity, which recommends the reduction of fat intake.  For all these reasons, it would seem that the only way to be healthy is to eliminate animal proteins from our diets, right?

The answer is: wrong.  Animal protein is the only natural source for vitamin B12.  A woman who eats a strict vegan diet has no way of obtaining vitamin B12, unless she chooses to supplement.  This puts her at grave risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency.

A mother who does not consume any animal products is liable to put her baby in grave danger, especially if she chooses to nurse exclusively.  She can eat as many healthy fruits, vegetables and nuts as she can, and still be deficient in vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for nerve cell formation.  A vitamin B12 deficiency in a growing baby can cause neurological problems, developmental delays, and mental retardation.

In one case, a baby of a vegetarian mother ceased talking and stopped growing at eight months old.  Fortunately, a few months later one doctor diagnosed the vitamin B12 deficiency before permanent brain damage could set in.

Studies demonstrate that 80% of all people who are on vegan diets for at least two years have low levels of plasma B12.  Therefore, doctors need to test pregnant women for a vitamin B12 deficiency in order to protect unborn children from harm.