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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Studies in South Asian population show that low maternal vitamin B12 associates with insulin resistance and small for gestational age in the offspring. Low vitamin B12 status is attributed to vegetarianism in these populations. It is not known whether low B12 status is associated with metabolic risk of the offspring in whites, where the childhood metabolic disorders are increasing rapidly. Here, we studied whether maternal B12 levels associate with metabolic risk of the offspring at birth. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study of 91 mother-infant pairs (n = 182), of white Caucasian origin living in the UK. Blood samples were collected from white pregnant women at delivery and their newborns (cord blood). Serum vitamin B12, folate, homocysteine as well as the relevant metabolic risk factors were measured. RESULTS: The prevalence of low serum vitamin B12 (<191 ng/L) and folate (<4.6 μg/L) were 40% and 11%, respectively. Maternal B12 was inversely associated with offspring's Homeostasis Model Assessment 2-Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), triglycerides, homocysteine and positively with HDL-cholesterol after adjusting for age and BMI. In regression analysis, after adjusting for likely confounders, maternal B12 is independently associated with neonatal HDL-cholesterol and homocysteine but not triglycerides or HOMA-IR. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that low B12 status is common in white women and is independently associated with adverse cord blood cholesterol.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2401 - 2414


Adult, Blood Glucose, Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Cholesterol, HDL, Cholesterol, LDL, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Vegetarian, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Fetal Blood, Folic Acid, Gestational Age, Great Britain, Homocysteine, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Nutritional Status, Pregnancy, Risk Factors, Triglycerides, Vitamin B 12