The status of folate, vitamin B-12 and homocysteine among Australian vegetarian and non-vegetarian teenagers

Roman Pawlak*, Ross Grant, Paul Vos, Ayse A. Bilgin, Jade Berg, Robyn Pearce, Margaret J. Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background/Aims: Vegetarians have a high risk of abnormal vitamin B-12 (B-12), and homocysteine (Hcy), status. The objectives included assessment of: 1) folate, B-12, and Hcy status; 2) incidence rate of abnormal folate, B-12, and Hcy; and 3) associations between folate and B-12 with Hcy status among vegetarian and non-vegetarian adolescents.

Methods: A cross-sectional plasma folate, B-12, and Hcyassessment in 49 vegetarian and 639 non-vegetarian, 14-17 year-old, participants from New South Wales, Australia.

Results: Mean (range) folate (nmol/L), B-12 (pmol/L), and Hcy (µmol/L), were: 33.4 (9.57-101) vs. 27.7 (2.7-86), p=0.033; 287.81 (134-702) vs. 392.22 (119-1300), p<0.001; and 8.82 (3.1-28.7) vs. 8.19 (2.9-30.8), p=0.33, in vegetarians and non-vegetarians, respectively. A higher percentage of vegetarians were in lower serum B-12 categories, 8.2% vs. 0.9%, for <148pmol/L, p=0.003; 22.4% vs. 9.4%, for B-12 between 148 and 222pmol/L, p<0.001; and 36.7% vs. 22.5%, for B-12 between 222 and 300pmol/L, p<0.001. No statistically significant difference was detected for incidence of abnormal folate or Hcy.

Conclusions: B-12 is a nutrient of a concern for vegetarian teenagers. To improve B-12 status, vegetarian adolescents should consume foods fortified with B-12, and/or take B-12 supplements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1219
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Pediatrics and Child Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Folate
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Homocysteine
  • Vegetarians
  • Adolescents


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