Vitamin B-12 status is not associated with plasma homocysteine in parents and their preschool children: lacto-ovo, lacto, and ovo vegetarians and omnivores.J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Feb; 29(1):7-13.JA
Vegetarians may be at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies, particularly vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may increase plasma homocysteine concentration and thus may potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in vegetarians. The purpose of this study was to assess and compare plasma homocysteine and vitamin B-12 status in vegetarian and omnivorous preschool children and their parents. In addition, the association between parents' and children's homocysteine and vitamin B-12 concentration was also examined.
Fifty-six omnivores (28 preschool children and one of their parents), 34 lacto-ovo vegetarians (16 parents and 18 children), 5 ovo vegetarians (2 parents and 3 children), 1 lacto vegetarian parent, and 2 vegan parents were enrolled in this study. The mean age of preschool children was 5.1 +/- 1.3 years and that of their parent was 35.4 +/- 4.2 years. Nutrient intakes were recorded using 3-day dietary records. Fasting venous blood samples were obtained to measure serum creatinine, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, hematological parameters, plasma homocysteine, serum folate, and vitamin B-12 concentrations.
There was no significant difference in dietary folate intake between vegetarian and omnivores within parent and child groups. The mean plasma homocysteine level of vegetarian parents and their children was in the physiological range, and they had slightly but not significantly higher plasma homocysteine levels than omnivores. Omnivorous parents and their children had significantly higher vitamin B-12 intake than vegetarian participants but similar serum vitamin B-12 concentrations. Plasma homocysteine concentration was significantly and negatively associated with only serum folate levels (beta = -0.15) and dietary vitamin B-12 intake (beta = -0.05) in the omnivorous parents after adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and serum creatinine.
Vegetarian parents and their preschool children had a lower vitamin B-12 intake than omnivorous parents and their preschool children but similar plasma vitamin B-12 and homocysteine concentrations. Plasma homocysteine was not associated with serum vitamin B-12 levels in the parent, child, or pooled group.