The purpose of this research project was threefold: 1) to determine the present serum vitamin B-12 status in a select group of strict or total vegetarians all of whom had been vegetarian for six months or more. 2) to determine the daily intake of vitamin B-12, total calories, protein, % calories as fat, folic acid, and crude fiber on a total vegetarian diet. 3) to observe if subjects with low serum vitamin B-12 levels and low intakes of oral vitamin B-12 also had elevated methylmalonic acid (MMA) in the urine.
Six of the 19 serum vitamin B-12 levels were below normal. The mean daily intake of vitamin B-12 for the 16 subjects who completed their diet record was 0.4 micrograms/day (ug/day) (range 0.0-1.4 ug/day). Sources of vitamin B-12 included fortified cereals, meat analogues, tofu milk, and soy milk. The results of the urinary methylmalonic acid (UMMA) test from the casual and 24-hour urine specimens showed that 5 out of the 19 subjects (26%) had elevated UMMA indicating an inadequate vitamin B-12 to efficiently metabolize MMA that is produced. Finally, 5 out of the 6 subjects (83%) who had below normal serum vitamin B-12 levels also had elevated UMMA levels.
Based upon this study almost a third of the total vegetarians who did not actively take a cobalamin supplement had below normal serum vitamin B-12 levels. Of this group that had low serum vitamin B-12 levels 83% also had an elevated UMMA indicating a possible biochemical limitation in the body due to a lack of adequate vitamin B-12. It would therefore be prudent to strongly recommend that this population supplement their diet with a reliable vitamin B-12 source on a regular basis.
U. D. Register
Patricia K. Johnston
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Diet; Vitamin B 12; Methylmalonic Acid; Vegetarianism
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Patchett, Shari H., "Serum Vitamin B-12 Levels and Urinary Methylmalonate Excretion in Total Vegetarians" (1991). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 957.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives