Should vegetarian women take vitamin B12 in pregnancy?
Problems of lack of B12 in vegetarian diet: pregnancy and lactation
B12 SUPPLEMENTS FOR VEGETARIAN DIETS IN PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING
Can B12 deficiency occur in babies of vegetarian mothers?
Yes, and there have been cases. You can now find all sorts of information on whether or not to use vitamin B12 supplements for pregnant vegetarian women and for breastfeeding is appropriate.
Given the great confusion in this issue, for various reasons, unfortunately some future vegetarian mothers are not supplemented, which is a serious danger for the future baby.
Not taking B12 supplements in pregnant women is a serious mistake, since B12 is a key vitamin for the development of pregnancy and for the proper growth of the baby. Pregnant women should only follow medical advice, and if it was not satisfactory, ask for second medical opinions.
Why should vegetarian women take supplements?
Mainly because cases of deficiency have already been described in vegetarian mothers, babies and children of vegetarian mothers. In many cases the affections are serious, especially the lack of B12 that affects the baby.
Clinical experience has shown that not taking B12 supplements is dangerous for the baby's health.
In addition it is recommended to go to a dietitian expert in vegetarianism to control the diet to see if there are no other possible deficits associated with the vegetarian diet.
What problems would the lack or deficiency of B12 cause?
Vitamin B12 is important not only to prevent anemia, but is also essential for growth because of its role in cell multiplication and for the formation of the nervous system. A lack of this vitamin causes very serious problems in the baby, sometimes irreversible.
There is sufficient information and previous cases to recommend B12 supplementation in pregnant vegetarian and lactating mothers, even though occasionally they take dairy products and eggs.
Why the mother may not have B12 deficiency?
The vegetarian mother may not present symptoms of lack of B12 because this vitamin is very conserved in the body, that is to say, the liver has a small store, and in addition this vitamin is reabsorbed via intestinal.
Therefore, the vegetarian woman has B12 reserves of her whole life.
However, even if no clear symptoms appear, when it is subjected to a complete and specific analytical, usually deficiency values of this vitamin appear.
Does the intestinal flora produce B12?
The microbiota or intestinal flora can produce very low amounts of B12, which in no case meet all the needs required in pregnancy and lactation. In addition, the synthesis depends on the type of bacteria that are in the intestine, that is very variable.
On the other hand, vitamin B12 is absorbed mainly in the small intestine, so that the bacterial fermentation in the colon, even assuming that it was enough, would not be totally absorbed.
How to take B12 in pregnancy and lactation. Recommended amounts of B12 in pregnancy
In pregnant women it is recommended NOT to take supplements of 1000mcg of vitamin B12 because it is too high a quantity. (There are many supplements with such high doses on the market).
It is most appropriate to take supplements with moderate doses of 10, 100 or up to 200 mcg of vitamin B12 daily (according to medical criteria).
Can vitamin B12 supplements be toxic?
Being a water-soluble vitamin, it does not build up and the excess is easily removed by the urine.
In prescribed doses is a safe and non-toxic supplement.
The IOM (Institute of Medicine) has not fixed a toxic dose of this vitamin given its harmlessness in the established doses.
Are B12 supplements natural, chemical or artificial?
The recommendation to take supplements is based on medical experience, as cases of babies with health problems due to mothers being vegetarians have been documented. Patients have recovered after administering B12.
The term "natural" is very ambiguous. It is not natural to take supplements made in the laboratory if we observe the precedents of this in all ancient history, because the current advances were not known. The origin of B12 supplements is bacterial fermentation and are suitable for strict vegetarians.
It is also known that many people in ancient times were vegetarians without consuming supplements, but their environment and bacteria are unknown and is not comparable with vegetarians today.
What is the risk if the mother decides not to take supplements?
Mainly symptoms of B12 deficiency in infants and newborns can occurs.
More information on vitamin b12 in the listing above
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.