Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements

F R Greer, S Marshall
Journal of Pediatrics 1989, 114 (2): 204-12

OBJECTIVE: To monitor ultraviolet B light exposure in human milk-fed infants both with and without supplemental vitamin D2, and to measure longitudinally the bone mineral content, growth, and serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D2, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and parathyroid hormone.

DESIGN: Longitudinal, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 6 months' duration.

SETTING: Patients from private pediatric practice, Madison, Wisconsin.

PATIENTS: Sequential sampling of 46 human milk-fed white infants; 24 received 400 IU/day of vitamin D2, and 22 received placebo. An additional 12 patients were followed who received standard infant formula. Eighty-three percent of patients completed a full 6 months of the study.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Ultraviolet B light exposure and measurements of growth did not differ between groups. At 6 months, the human milk groups did not differ significantly in bone mineral content or serum concentrations of parathyroid hormone or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, although total 25-hydroxyvitamin D values were significantly less in the unsupplemented human milk group (23.53 +/- 9.94 vs 36.96 +/- 11.86 ng/ml; p less than 0.01). However, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 serum concentrations were significantly higher in the unsupplemented human milk-fed group compared with the supplemented group (21.77 +/- 9.73 vs 11.74 +/- 10.27 ng/ml, p less than 0.01) by 6 months of age.

CONCLUSION: Unsupplemented, human milk-fed infants had no evidence of vitamin D deficiency during the first 6 months of life.

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