Vitamin D nutritional status of exclusively breast fed infants and their mothers

A Seth, R K Marwaha, B Singla, S Aneja, P Mehrotra, A Sastry, M L Khurana, K Mani, B Sharma, N Tandon
Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism: JPEM 2009, 22 (3): 241-6

BACKGROUND: Vitamin D nutrition has a profound effect on the development of an infant. Vitamin D status of mothers and their infants are closely correlated. While hypovitaminosis D has emerged as a significant public health problem across all age groups, there is limited information of this condition in lactating mothers and their breast fed infants.

AIM: To evaluate the vitamin D status of lactating mothers and their breast fed infants.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 180 healthy lactating mothers and exclusively breast fed infants, 2-24 weeks old, were recruited for the study. The mother-infant pairs underwent concurrent clinical, biochemical and hormonal evaluation for calcium-vitamin D-PTH axis.

RESULTS: The mean serum 25(OH)D values in lactating mothers was 27.2 +/- 14.6 nmol/l (10.9 +/- 5.8 ng/ml), while that of their infants was 28.9 +/- 20.8 nmol/l (11.6 +/- 8.3 ng/ml). Serum 25(OH)D levels <25 nmol/l (10 ng/ml) were found in 47.8% of the mothers and 43.2% of the infants. Among these, elevated PTH levels (>54 pg/ml) were seen in 59.3% of the mothers and 69.6% of the infants. A highly significant negative correlation was found between serum 25(OH)D and PTH in mothers (r = -0.480, p = 0.01) and their infants (r = -0.431, p = 0.01). A strong positive correlation was seen of 25(OH)D levels in mother-infant pairs (r = 0.324, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found in lactating mothers and their exclusively breast fed infants. Infants born to mothers with hypovitaminosis D had 3.8 times higher risk of developing hypovitaminosis D as compared to those born to mothers with normal vitamin D levels.

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