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November 2022

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1993 ; 63(3): 201-7.

Vitamin B12, folic acid and haematological status of 132 Thai vegetarians.

Tungtrongchitr R, Pongpaew P, Prayurahong B, Changbumrung S, Vudhivai N, Migasena P, Schelp FP.

Department of Tropical Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University.

Serum vitamin B12, folic acid and haematological variables of 132 Thai vegetarians (64 males and 68 females) were investigated. Forty-seven healthy omnivorous individuals served as controls. No statistical differences in haemoglobin concentration, packed red cell volume and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration between the vegetarians and controls had been detected. In the female vegetarians, the haemoglobin concentration and packed red cell volume were, however, statistically lower. No significant differences in the white cell counts and platelet counts were observed in both groups. A significant increase of basophilic stippling and reticulocytes was observed in the vegetarians. Serum vitamin B12 decreased and serum folic acid levels increased according to the duration of vegetarianism in the vegetarians. In the females practicing vegetarianism for 6-10 years or more, the proportion of serum vitamin B12 deficiencies was particularly high. The high percentage of vitamin B12 deficiency in the vegetarians might be related to megaloblastic anaemia. This form of anaemia is commonly associated with the presence of basophilic stippling. Therefore, the increased presence of basophilic stippling and reticulocytes might indicate a mild stage of this type of anaemia among the vegetarians.

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