Vitamin B12 for pregnant women may boost offspring’s cognitive abilities

Giving women vitamin B12 supplements during pregnancy and in the weeks immediately after birth may improve cognitive development in their children, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and India’s St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences.

The study, published online on July 12, 2018 in Maternal and Child Health Journal, followed 218 children born to mothers in India who were enrolled in a randomized trial. The findings showed that 30 months after birth, children of mothers who received oral vitamin B12 supplementation scored significantly higher on expressive language tests when compared with children whose mothers were given a placebo.

Several of the study’s authors previously collaborated on a research project that assessed the associations between maternal and infant vitamin B12 status. Those findings were published in 2017 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Harvard Chan authors included Ronald Bosch, David Bellinger, and Christopher Duggan.