B12 Deficiency in Infants
B12 Deficiency in Infants
The paper has examined the importance of vitamin B12 in humans. Since humans are not capable of manufacturing the vitamin, they have to obtain it from their diet. Foods rich in this vitamin include milk, meat, eggs, and fish. Therefore, strictly vegetarian people are at risk of deficiency, since most of the food products containing the vitamin come from animal sources. In addition, people in underdeveloped countries do not have sufficient vitamin B12 because they do not have access to animal products. Infants, whose mothers are deficient in the vitamin, suffer a high risk of developing health complications. This is because they can only get the vitamin from the mother’s milk. Breast milk contains the protein haptocorrin, which binds B12, and infants absorb this protein.
The paper has examined the health risks associated with lack of vitamin B12 in infants. Insufficiency of the vitamins in infants causes delay in their development, weakness and fatigue, neurological dysfunctions such as ataxia, developmental retardation, tremors, seizures, and irritability, infancy birth weight, and anemia. Deficiency in vitamin B12 is a cause of imbalance of methionine synthesis and it causes the accumulation of guanidoacetate, and this may lead to neurotoxicity. It causes an increase in homocysteine and methylmaonic acid, and this can cause neuronal death, axonal degeneration, and demyelination. Although more research needs to be conducted, current studies suggest that deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Levels of vitamin B12 in pregnant women related significantly to insulin resistance in their children at the age of six years.
Adults can take a long time before manifesting the symptoms associated with deficiency in the vitamin, but this is not the case in infants. In many infants, the symptoms appear at 4-10 months of age, although some infants begin exhibiting symptoms as early as 2 months. This is because infants do not have sufficient hepatic reserves. In addition to lack of the vitamin the diet, lack of vitamin B12 in infants is attributable to congenital pernicious anemia, which they require to absorb the vitamin. Other factors include existence of vitamin B12 antibodies and malabsorption of B12. The paper concludes by noting that it is possible to reverse the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency in children by giving them early treatment of vitamin B12 supplements and by increasing the amount of vitamin B12 in when pregnant or when lactating. More vitamin B12 is necessary for lactating mothers. Infants usually need 0.4ug/day and the average breast milk has 0.42ug/L.
It is important for people to understand the importance of ensuring good nutrition especially when pregnant. This is because it is not only the mother’s health at risk, but the child’s health will also be affected. Strictly vegetarian pregnant mothers should ensure that they take the supplements so that they can have healthy children. Providing expectant mothers with the necessary information such as the important of the vitamins, sources of the vitamins, and the health risks and consequences associated with the deficiency will ensure that people make informed decisions. Mothers need to eat a healthy diet and to breastfeed their children because breast milk has all the nutrients that infants need when the mothers eat a healthy diet. Some mothers do not breastfeed their infants for different reasons. However, giving them the information they need concerning the importance of breastfeeding will help towards increasing the number of mothers who breast feed, and in the process reduce some health complications in infants.