Effect of Maternal Vitamin B12 Supplementation on Cognitive Outcomes in South Indian Children: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Authors : Thomas S, Thomas T, Bosch RJ, Ramthal A, Bellinger DC, Kurpad AV, Duggan CP, Srinivasan K

Publication Year : 2019

Abstract :

To examine the effects of oral maternal vitamin B12 supplementation during pregnancy and early lactation on cognitive development in children.

We studied 218 children born to mothers enrolled in a placebo-controlled, randomized trial of vitamin B12 supplementation during pregnancy through 6 weeks post-partum. Cognitive functions were assessed at 30 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development- 3rd edition (BSID III). The association of maternal sociodemographic characteristics, maternal biochemical status during pregnancy, birth weight and home environment with each sub-domain of BSID-III was examined using linear regression analysis. Separate multiple linear regression analyses for each of the BSID-III sub-domains with maternal trimester specific nutritional biomarker status was conducted.

Children of mothers who received oral vitamin B12 supplementation had significantly higher scores on expressive language compared to children of mothers who received placebo (ß = 0.14, P = 0.03). Children of mothers with elevated serum total homocysteine (tHcy) in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy had significantly lower scores on expressive language (ß = - 0.18, P = 0.03 and ß = - 0.19, P = 0.02, respectively) and gross motor domains (ß = - 0.23, P = 0.008 and ß = - 0.30, P = 0.001, respectively) of BSID-III adjusted for treatment arm and multiple confounders, compared with children whose mothers did not have elevated tHcy.

Maternal B12 supplementation during pregnancy was associated with higher expressive language scores in children at 30 months. Elevated maternal tHcy levels during pregnancy had negative associations with expressive language and gross motor domains of BSID-III. Larger trials of maternal B12 supplementation are needed to confirm these findings.