Lower meat consumption during pregnancy was found to be associated with an increased risk of substance misuse in the offspring later in life, reveals a new study.
The findings come from a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
In the study that included 5109 women and their offspring, less frequent consumption of red meat, poultry, and meat products during pregnancy were associated with greater risks of adverse alcohol, cannabis and cigarette use.
Because vitamin B12 insufficiencies are highly likely to have a contributing role to the study's findings, greater meat consumption need not be advised to modify this risk.
Fortification of foods with vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 and more widespread use of supplements may be other options.
"The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes recommendations for healthy vegetarian eating patterns," said Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, lead author of the study.
"Our study points to the need to investigate potential health impacts, and solutions, for some women who choose to restrict certain food categories during pregnancy."