Published: 2022-01-28

Nutritional and hematological profile of children with severe acute malnutrition rehabilitated with or without vitamin B12

Siddharth Khanna, Praveen Kumar, Sunita Sharma, Jagdish Chandra, Rajesh Sinha


Background: Aim of the study was to study the effect of vitamin B12 supplementation in children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

Methods: A total of 100 children were enrolled in the study in two different time frames.  Group A consisted of 50 children with SAM enrolled from November 2016 to May 2017 and managed as per existing national protocol for facility-based SAM management while group B consisted of 50 children enrolled from June 2017 to Dec 2017 who were tested for vitamin B12 deficiency on admission and supplemented with vitamin B12 in presence of vitamin B12 deficiency hematological and anthropometric parameters of both groups were compared at 12 weeks of rehabilitation

Results: At 12±1 weeks, 38% children from group A and 24% from group B were still anemic (p=0.13). No one from either group had folic acid deficiency while deficiency of vitamin B12 was present in 14% and 6% cases in group A and group B respectively (p>0.05). Mean weight gain at 12±1 weeks, in group A and non-supplemented sub-group of group B was comparable (p>0.59). However, mean weight gain in supplemented sub-group of group B was significantly higher compared to group A (p>0.05) and non-supplemented sub-group of group B (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Significant number of SAM children remain anemic when treated with current guidelines. Additional vitamin B12 supplementation in vitamin B12 deficient group showed improvement in weight gain among SAM children.


Severe wasting, Anemia, Vitamin B12 supplementation, Micronutrients

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