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The breast-fed infants of two mothers who did not eat any animal products, including milk and eggs, developed brain abnormalities as a result of a vitamin-B12 deficiency, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday.

The primary sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development, are animal products like meat, dairy products and eggs. Since the mothers ate little or no animal products, too little vitamin B12 was transmitted to their children through breast milk, according to the CDC's Dr. Maria Elena Jefferds.

Jefferds added that these cases serve as a reminder to parents and pediatricians to ensure that both pregnant women and mothers who breast-feed their infants consume enough B12, either through diet or B12-containing supplements.

"You have to make sure you're getting it," she said, in reference to vitamin B12.

And don't abandon breast-feeding altogether, Jefferds cautioned. Breast-feeding has many advantages, and mothers who choose to not eat animal products should still continue to breast-feed their infants.

"Vegetarians should absolutely breast-feed, there's no question about that," she said.

In the January 31st issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Jefferds and her colleagues describe the cases of two babies who showed signs of brain abnormalities as a result of a deficiency in vitamin B12.

In one case, doctors examined and diagnosed the deficiency in a 15-month-old child with slow growth and mental development. Her mother said she had avoided consuming all animal products for many years, and had breast-fed the baby for 8 months after birth.

After receiving supplements of vitamin B12, the child began to improve, but was still below her age group in speech and language at 32 months of age.

Jefferds explained in an interview that many children fully recover from vitamin-B12 deficiencies but that, in some cases, a prolonged period of low consumption of vitamin B12 can cause irreversible damage.

"I think it really depends on how severe the deficiency was, and how long it was taking place for," she said.

She added that while both children described in the report showed lingering symptoms of low vitamin B12, over time, those impairments may disappear.

The initial symptoms of low vitamin B12 in infants are often vague and not obvious, Jefferds noted. She recommended that doctors keep the possibility of a deficiency "on their radar screen," and ask mothers if they eat animal products or take supplements that contain enough vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin.

Vegans eat only plant-based foods, using grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables to fill all their dietary needs. Vegetarians, on the other hand, typically avoid meat, but may eat some animal products, such as milk, eggs and possibly fish.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ants_diet_dc_1
 

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Why is it that you don't see articles loudly proclaiming, "Mother refuses to breast feed, baby will get breast/prostate cancer!" or "Meat-eating mom breastfeeds infants, feed them hormones, antibiotics and pesticides at dangerous levels!"

This is more of the same veg*n bashing.

That being said, this mother should have been taking a multivitamin throughout the pregnancy and breastfeeding period - which would have contained B12, but it's just common sense to take a multi anyway.
 

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I read a lot of the post attached to that article and there was sure a lot of veg*n bashing. No one seems to know that some people are not able to assimilate B12, even meat eaters and they have to have it given to them in shots. It is true that it is usually as a person gets older but it can happen to younger people too. Those mothers just may have been in that catagory. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of vegan mothers who breastfeed their babies and they grow up to be just as smart and healthy as any other child. There are sick children that come from omnivore breast feeding mothers too.
 

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I don't know how you can feel that article is veg*n-bashing. This is a serious concern that most veg*ns ignore because they think they know everything. The article is not telling vegetarians to start eating meat but to simply make sure they're getting the essential vitamins that everyone needs. (Read the 3rd paragraph.) What is so wrong with that?!

Also, I'm off on a tangent, but why is it Mr McDougall always wants us to (I quote) "have faith that [his] diet is the healthiest"... he never has any scientific documentation to back up what he says, it's all "take my word for it". I went to listen to him speak and it was the biggest joke I've ever seen. His proof for his diet working was "look at the 3rd world countries. they aren't fat because they're vegetarians." no mention of all the health problems in those countries. and he's so full of himself that half of his seminar was spent talking about his luxurious vacations and fancy homes and resorts and how his limo was late, and everything he gets off the millions of dollars he steals from veg*ns who don't know better.. I guess that's what really made me dislike the man... I felt like I was listening to a fast-talking television evangelist. Just have faith and Jesus [err, my diet] will save your life.
 
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