Poster Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 571
Objectives: Whether deficiencies of folate and vitamin B12 (B12) are common in young Laotian children is presently unknown. We evaluated this question and assessed the effects of a daily multiple micronutrient powder (MNP) on folate and B12 status among young Laotian children.
Methods: 1704 children aged 6-23 mo participating in a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial were individually randomized to one of 2 groups: MNP (containing 150 μg folic acid and 0.9 μg B12 along with 13 other micronutrients) or placebo. Children received their assigned supplements daily for ~36 wks. Information on socio-economic status, food security, child feeding practices, and child and maternal anthropometric indices were collected at baseline. Venous blood samples were collected at baseline and endline. In a randomly selected sub-sample of 260 children, plasma folate and B12 concentrations were assessed using the Roche e411 immunoassay bio analyzer. Linear or modified Poisson regression models were used to assess group differences in continuous and dichotomized outcomes respectively.
Results: At enrollment, mean age was 13.1 ± 4.8 mo and 64.6% of the children were anemic (hemoglobin<110 g/L). Baseline mean folate and B12 concentrations were 22.2 ± 10.1 nmol/L and 451.0 ± 180.8 pmol/L respectively and prevalence of folate deficiency (plasma folate<10 nmol/L) and B12 deficiency (plasma B12<221 pmol/L) were 8.1% and 6.2%, respectively.
There was no treatment effect on endline B12 concentration (523.3 ± 24.6 pmol/L in MNP vs 515.9 ± 24.8 pmol/L in placebo; p=0.678) and the prevalence of B12 deficiency did not differ significantly between the two groups (3.6% in MNP vs. 1.6% in placebo; p=0.503).
However, endline folate concentration was significantly higher in the MNP group compared to the placebo group (28.2 ± 0.8 nmol/L vs 19.9 ± 0.8 nmol/L, respectively; p<0.001) and prevalence of folate deficiency was significantly lower in the MNP group compared to the placebo group (1.6% vs 17.4%; p=0.015).
Conclusions: Folate and B12 deficiencies were both low in this study population. Compared to a placebo, a daily MNP containing 150 μg of folic acid and 0.9 μg B12 along with 13 other micronutrients improved folate but did not change B12 status in rural Laotian children.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of California Davis