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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Effects of ethnicity and vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status and changes in bone mineral content in infants

item Abrams, Steven
item Hawthorne, Keli
item Rogers, Stephanie
item Hicks, Penni
item Carpenter, Thomas

Submitted to: BMC Pediatrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2012
Publication Date: 1/16/2012
Citation: Abrams, S.A., Hawthorne, K.M., Rogers, S.P., Hicks, P.D., Carpenter, T.O. 2012. Effects of ethnicity and vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status and changes in bone mineral content in infants. BMC Pediatrics. 12:6.

Interpretive Summary: We found that low 25(OH)D levels are common in newborns in a southern US climate, especially among Hispanic infants. Improvement occurred with vitamin D supplementation and was not related to changes in bone mineral content. Our findings support current guidelines to begin vitamin D supplementation of 400 IU/day to all breast-fed infants in the first week of life and to further encourage the provision of adequate vitamin D to pregnant women. Larger studies are needed in diverse populations at various latitudes to further characterize the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and bone mineral content.

Technical Abstract: To evaluate the effects on serum 25(OH)D and bone mineralization of supplementation of breast-fed Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasian infants with vitamin D in infants in Houston, Texas. We measured cord serum 25(OH)D levels, bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD) and their changes over 3 months of life with 400 IU/day of vitamin D3 supplementation. Cord serum 25(OH)D was significantly lower in Hispanic than non-Hispanic Caucasian infants (16.4 +/- 6.5 ng/mL, n = 27, vs 22.3 +/- 9.4 n = 22, p = 0.013). Among 38 infants who completed a 3 month vitamin D supplementation intervention, provision of 400 IU/day of vitamin D increased final 25(OH)D to a higher level in non-Hispanic Caucasian compared to Hispanic infants. There was no significant relationship between cord serum 25(OH)D and BMC or BMD in the first week of life (n = 49) or after 3 months of vitamin D supplementation. Low cord 25(OH)D levels are seen in Hispanic infants, but their functional significance is uncertain related to bone health in a southern US setting. Daily vitamin D intake of 400 IU during the first months of life appears adequate to increase serum 25(OH)D and support BMC increases despite low initial 25(OH)D levels in some infants.

Last Modified: 08/18/2017
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