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What is Blue Baby Syndrome?

Methemoglobinemia (MetHb), or Blue Baby Syndrome, is a blood disorder when an abnormal amount of methemoglobin is produced. Hemoglobin carries oxygen, but doesn’t release it properly to body tissues.

One cause of this issue is when babies, six months or younger, are fed spinach, beets, or carrots that naturally contain nitrates. This can cause their skin to turn blueish, have a headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and lack energy. This is because their bodies are not developed enough.

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MetHb is also genetically passed down through families. It could come from both parents, Type 1, or from one parent, Type 2.


About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

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