E.W. "Al" Thrasher
Status: Funded - Open
The effect of vitamin B12 supplementation in Nepali infants on growth and development
Tor Strand, M.D., Ph.D.
BACKGROUND: The only relevant source of Vitamin B12 is animal-source foods. Vitamin B12 is crucial for normal cell division and is necessary for brain growth as well as for the maintenance of its normal function. Deficiency is also associated with impaired growth. Many children in poor countries have poor vitamin B12 status.
GAP: It is not known whether the association between vitamin B12 status and development or growth is causal and to what extent supplementation of vitamin B12 will improve these outcomes.
HYPOTHESIS: This proposed study will test three hypotheses; that 2 recommended daily allowances (RDA) of vitamin B12 administration for one year to stunted children improves; 1) growth, 2) neurodevelopment, or 3) hemoglobin concentration.
METHODS: Randomized placebo-controlled trial in 600 malnourished infants in Bhaktapur municipality in Nepal. In this population we have demonstrated that poor vitamin B12 status and poor growth is common. Half of the children will receive a paste containing vitamin B12, the other half the same paste but without vitamin B12 every day for one year. We will measure growth, hemoglobin concentration and cognitive development in all children.
IMPACT: Improving growth and learning abilities in children in poor setting will increase their chances of leaving the vicious cycle of poor health, poor learning abilities, and poverty.
University of Bergen