Low plasma vitamin B-12 is associated with a lower pregnancy-associated rise in plasma free choline in Canadian pregnant women and lower postnatal growth rates in their male infants

  • Wu B
  • Innis S
  • Mulder K
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Choline needs are increased in pregnancy. Choline can be used as a source of methyl for homocysteine remethylation to methionine, but choline synthesis requires methyls from methionine. Vitamin B-12 deficiency increases choline use for homocysteine methylation.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether poor vitamin B-12 status occurs and contributes to low plasma choline and altered biomarkers of choline synthesis in pregnant women. With the use of a post hoc analysis, we addressed the association of maternal plasma vitamin B-12 status with postnatal growth rates in term infants.

DESIGN: Blood was analyzed for a prospective study of 264 and 220 pregnant women at 16 and 36 wk of gestation, respectively, and 88 nonpregnant women as a reference.

RESULTS: The proportion of women with a plasma total vitamin B-12 concentration 220 pmol/L). Plasma total vitamin B-12 was positively associated with the increase in plasma free choline from midgestation to late gestation (P < 0.001). The postnatal growth rate to 9 mo was lower in infant boys of women classified as total vitamin B-12 deficient compared with sufficient.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that maternal vitamin B-12 status is related to choline status in late gestation in a folate-replete population and may be a determinant of infant growth even in the absence of undernutrition.

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  • Brian T F Wu

  • Sheila M. Innis

  • Kelly A. Mulder

  • Roger A. Dyer

  • D. Janette King

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