Pediatric Vitamin B12 Deficiencies
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy
According to Sally M. Pacholok in the February 2014 issue of Pharmacy Times, vitamin B12 deficiencies often go undiagnosed in infants.
What is even worse is that some of the symptoms of this deficiency so closely resemble those of autism that the child is misdiagnosed, when a simple replenishment program could reverse the symptoms. These symptoms include developmental delay, flaccid muscles, tremor, seizures, reduced IQ, and mental retardation. MRI scans will actually reveal brain atrophy.
Sadly, although medical professionals now pay close attention to folic acid levels for pregnant women, many don’t realize that vitamin B12 deficiencies are also involved in neural tube defects, preeclampsia, and miscarriage. Prenatal vitamins do not contain enough vitamin B12 to restore a depleted mother’s levels.
Ms. Pacholok urges that women intending to get pregnant, or who are nursing, be screened for vitamin B12 deficiency. She also suggests that infants who are colicky, or apathetic and slow to develop, also be screened. In these cases, restoring depleted B12 can make a great deal of difference.