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Food Nutr Bull. 2008 Jun;29(2 Suppl):S126-31.

Effects of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency on brain development in children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Folate deficiency in the periconceptional period contributes to neural tube defects; deficits in vitamin B12 (cobalamin) have negative consequences on the developing brain during infancy; and deficits of both vitamins are associated with a greater risk of depression during adulthood. This review examines two mechanisms linking folate and vitamin B12 deficiency to abnormal behavior and development in infants: disruptions to myelination and inflammatory processes. Future investigations should focus on the relationship between the timing of deficient and marginal vitamin B12 status and outcomes such as infant growth, cognition, social development, and depressive symptoms, along with prevention of folate and vitamin B12 deficiency.

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