Background: Previous studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of biochemical vitamin B12 deficiency in infants in Norway. Increased total homocysteine (tHcy) is the most important marker of B12 deficiency in infants. There is a need to evaluate its clinical relevance. Aims: To investigate the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia (S-tHcy > 8 μmol/L) suggestive of suboptimal B12 status and the prevalence of clinically relevant hyperhomocysteinemia in presumed healthy infants in Norway. Further, to evaluate risk factors, presence of symptoms and psychomotor development in these children. Methods: In a prospective study we clinically examined 252 infants aged 3–7 months using standardized neurological and psychomotor tests prior to analyzing biochemical B12 deficiency markers in 250 infants. Results: Twenty-five of 250 (10%) infants had hyperhomocysteinemia combined with clinically relevant symptoms suggestive of B12 deficiency. Hyperhomocysteinemia was associated with tremor, excessive sleep, and sub-normal scores in the fine motor section of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. One-hundred and fourteen of 250 (46%) infants had hyperhomocysteinemia. Multiple regression analysis showed months of infant formula use as the strongest negative predictor for hyperhomocysteinemia. Conclusion: We have demonstrated associations between symptoms suggestive of infant B12 deficiency and increased levels of tHcy in presumed healthy infants The combination of hyperhomocysteinemia and associated relevant symptoms suggestive of B12 deficiency was a common finding, albeit most infants with hyperhomocysteinemia did not show symptoms.
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