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Collaborative research will contribute to improved vitamin B12 uptake

In an interdisciplinary collaboration involving basic biological research and clinical trials, Danish and Indian researchers seek an explanation of why vitamin B12 absorbed more efficiently from milk compared with equivalent amounts of B12 in other food. In collaboration with Arla Foods Ingredients Group P / S and the NGO The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, these studies provide new knowledge that can be used for development and distribution of milk powder, especially suitable for the prevention and treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency in developing countries.

2015.06.03 | Lisbeth Heilesen

B12 deficiency is caused by inadequate intake of animal food. Since animal products are often a limited resource in developing countries, it is estimated that up to half of the world's population do not get enough B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes growth retardation and reduced cognitive development in children. In adults, difficulty with walking, coordination, memory and concentration are common symptoms as well as mental disorders and anemia.

The project, called "Identification of a Suitable milk-derived product, the consumption of which could prevent vitamin B12 eficiency (IMPROVIT) (www.improvit-project.com), is supported by the Innovation Fund Denmark’s programme committee for Individuals, Disease and Society and the Department of Biotechnology, India, with a total allocation of DKK 8.1 million. In addition, Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S contribute with DKK 1 million. The three-year project period expires on 1 April 2018.

IMPROVIT is an extension of the current TRIM project (http://trim-project.dk/) both directed by Christian W. Heegaard, The Protein Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University. The other IMPROVIT partners include the Institute of Clinical Medicine, AUH, Department of Clinical Biochemistry and the Department of Pathology, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre, Pune, India, The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Nordic Partnership, and Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S.

Further information

Senior Researcher Christian W. Heegaard
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark
e-mail: cwh@mbg.au.dk, phone: +45 8715 5462