Cobalamin and folate are crucial micronutrients during infancy and they are required for growth and cognitive development. Due to the monotonous and predominantly vegetarian-based complementary feeding and poor maternal micronutrient status, infants from low- and middle-income countries are susceptible to cobalamin deficiency. However, data on plasma cobalamin and folate and the functional markers methylmalonic acid and total homocysteine from breastfed infants in Nepal are still needed. We collected plasma samples from 316 6–11-month-old breastfed infants with a length-for-age of less than minus one z
-score and analyzed blood for plasma folate, cobalamin, methylmalonic acid and total homocysteine concentrations. Cobalamin deficiency (plasma cobalamin <148 pmol/L) was found among 11%, whereas 24% of the infants had plasma cobalamin concentrations between 148–221 pmol/L. Elevated total homocysteine (>10 µmol/L) and methylmalonic acid (>0.28 µmol/L) indicating functional cobalamin deficiency were found among 53% and 75% of the infants, respectively. Based on a combined indicator of cobalamin status, 58% were found to have low cobalamin status. However, folate deficiency (<10 nmol/L) was not found as the lowest value of plasma folate was 20.7 nmol/L. It is important to examine the extent to which poor cobalamin status during infancy has immediate or long-term consequences.
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