UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Correlations between Maternal, Breast Milk, and Infant Vitamin B12 Concentrations among Mother–Infant Dyads in Vancouver, Canada and Prey Veng, Cambodia: An Exploratory Analysis Chebaya, Philip; Karakochuk, Crystal D.; March, Kaitlin M.; Chen, Nancy N.; Stamm, Rosemary A.; Kroeun, Hou; Sophonneary, Prak; Borath, Mam; Shahab-Ferdows, Setareh; Hampel, Daniela; Barr, Susan I.; Lamers, Yvonne; Houghton, Lisa A.; Allen, Lindsay H.; Green, Tim J.; Whitfield, Kyly C.


Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in fetal and infant development. In regions where animal source food consumption is low and perinatal supplementation is uncommon, infants are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. In this secondary analysis, we measured total vitamin B12 concentrations in maternal and infant serum/plasma and breast milk among two samples of mother–infant dyads in Canada (assessed at 8 weeks post-partum) and in Cambodia (assessed between 3–27 weeks post-partum). Canadian mothers (n = 124) consumed a daily vitamin B12-containing multiple micronutrient supplement throughout pregnancy and lactation; Cambodian mothers (n = 69) were unsupplemented. The maternal, milk, and infant total vitamin B12 concentrations (as geometric means (95% CI) in pmol/L) were as follows: in Canada, 698 (648,747), 452 (400, 504), and 506 (459, 552); in Cambodia, 620 (552, 687), 317 (256, 378), and 357 (312, 402). The majority of participants were vitamin B12 sufficient (serum/plasma total B12 > 221 pmol/L): 99% and 97% of mothers and 94% and 84% of infants in Canada and Cambodia, respectively. Among the Canadians, maternal, milk, and infant vitamin B12 were all correlated (p < 0.05); only maternal and infant vitamin B12 were correlated among the Cambodians (p < 0.001).

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