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American Vegans Placing Babies At Risk

Vitamin B12 is an imperative for those eating vegetarian and vegan diets, especially during pregnancy and infancy.

August 26, 2011 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

Acknowledgements

Image thanks to CarbonNYC.

Transcript

Surely this kind of tragic neglect couldn’t happen here in the United States.  Journal of Pediatrics last year, based on a CDC survey across a dozen states, vegan mother-induced B12 deficiency occurs in about 1 in every half million live births in the United States. About 4 million babies are born annually, so American vegans put the health of 8 infants at risk every year.

 A follow-up study this year, published in the Journal of the AMA, testing 364,000 babies, suggests the annual number of infants placed at risk by vegan moms in the United States may instead be as high as 20.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Check out my blog post Vegan B12 Deficiency: Putting It into Perspective to put these terrible tragedies into context. Also, be sure to check out the following blog post to get more context: Heading Shrinking from Grilling Meat

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Check out my blog post Vegan B12 Deficiency: Putting It into Perspective to put these terrible tragedies into context.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/sagi-gt/ sagi.gt

    I just love this site,got informed by jack norris RD mailing list and I can’t stop checking out all the videos you published.
    You are very easy to understand and funny :)
    I wish more vegans would learn from this site and won’t neglect their health.
    Thank you

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      You are absolutely welcome–thank you for your kind words. I too want vegans to learn to eat healthier, but it’s the health of the other 99.5% of the population I’m primarily concerned about!

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/sagi-gt/ sagi.gt

        As a vegan I do my best to keep myself healthy and it serve the cause-some of my friends try to minimize their meat consumption and 4 of my friend converted to vegan after seeing the health benefits of a vegan diet.
        It is a shame that some vegan don’t take B12 and keep the myth of the necessity of meat alive.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/sagi-gt/ sagi.gt

    Btw would you mind to link to the researches you rely on in every video please?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I wouldn’t mind at all–in fact I already did! See the “Sources Cited” link beneath the video? I always have the links to all my source citations for each video there. I link to full-text sources whenever possible (meaning whenever doesn’t violate copyright laws).

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/sagi-gt/ sagi.gt

        That is great! thanks again for such a great site

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/louisef/ LouiseF

    Do these people live in caves? How do they not know that they need to take a supplement?

    Thanks for your wonderful website!!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Their cave must not have access to NutritionFacts.org :)

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/hcdr/ hcdr

    I feel our family has a healthy and complete diet (in no small part thanks to you!) but do you have any specific recommendations or guidelines for those who would like to follow a vegan diet through pregnancy, infancy and childhood? Is the most important thing (apart from healthy, whole foods) kid-friendly B12 and DHA, and probably D?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      There are two great new resources for those who want to raise their families on plant-based diets: one my Reed Mengels and one by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina. Check them out at your local library!

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/hcdr/ hcdr

        Thanks, Dr Greger!

  • Natalie Daou

    Dr Greer thank you for your wonderful posts.. I have a 1 year old baby girl.. After breadtfeeding for 8 months and starting solids at 6, I wanted to raise my child macrobiotically and I am except for the milk because her dr insisted on this at least till she s 2 years old.. But I m giving her only once a day 8oz cow s milk and once organic Eden soy milk.. My question is does she still need B12 supplementation if she s having fish (because in the macro diet fish are allowed)?
    Thank you

  • Natalie Daou

    Dr Greger thank you for your wonderful posts.. I have a 1 year old baby girl.. After breadtfeeding for 8 months and starting solids at 6, I wanted to raise my child macrobiotically and I am except for the milk because her dr insisted on this at least till she s 2 years old.. But I m giving her only once a day 8oz cow s milk and once organic Eden soy milk.. My question is does she still need B12 supplementation if she s having fish (because in the macro diet fish are allowed)?
    Thank you

  • Ashley

    We live vegan and any child living in our house would also live vegan. We supplement vitamin b12 in methyl form daily, and I take a large dose every week.

    It’s important to stay informed and stay healthy on every diet.

  • Jessica Cook Rodrigues

    should I be supplementing my 8 month breastfed + vegan solids baby with B12 or does she get enough from breast milk? I take 500 mcg of methyl a few days a week. also, how much does my 3.5 year old need. she eats plant-based (fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts, fortified soy milk, and eggs a few times a month and turkey/fish a few meals/year)?

  • Claire

    You didn’t mention non-vegan mums with B12 deficiency