The Effect of High-Dose Postpartum Maternal Vitamin D Supplementation Alone Compared with Maternal Plus Infant Vitamin D Supplementation in Breastfeeding Infants in a High-Risk Population. A Randomized Controlled Trial

Dawodu A., Salameh K. M., Al-Janahi N. S., Bener A., Elkum N.

NUTRIENTS, vol.11, no.7, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/nu11071632
  • Journal Name: NUTRIENTS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In view of continuing reports of high prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency and low rate of infant vitamin D supplementation, an alternative strategy for prevention of vitamin D deficiency in infants warrants further study. The aim of this randomized controlled trial among 95 exclusively breastfeeding mother-infant pairs with high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was to compare the effect of six-month post-partum vitamin D-3 maternal supplementation of 6000 IU/day alone with maternal supplementation of 600 IU/day plus infant supplementation of 400 IU/day on the vitamin D status of breastfeeding infants in Doha, Qatar. Serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, maternal urine calcium/creatinine ratio and breast milk vitamin D content were measured. At baseline, the mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) of mothers on 6000 IU and 600 IU (35.1 vs. 35.7 nmol/L) and in their infants (31.9 vs. 29.6) respectively were low but similar. At the end of the six month supplementation, mothers on 6000 IU achieved higher serum 25(OH)D mean +/- SD of 98 +/- 35 nmol/L than 52 +/- 20 nmol/L in mothers on 600 IU (p < 0.0001). Of mothers on 6000 IU, 96% achieved adequate serum 25(OH)D (>= 50 nmol/L) compared with 52%in mothers on 600 IU (p < 0.0001). Infants of mothers on 600 IU and also supplemented with 400 IU vitamin D-3 had slightly higher serum 25(OH)D than infants of mothers on 6000 IU alone (109 vs. 92 nmol/L, p = 0.03); however, similar percentage of infants in both groups achieved adequate serum 25(OH)D >= 50 nmol/L (91% vs. 89%, p = 0.75). Mothers on 6000 IU vitamin D-3/day also had higher human milk vitamin D content. Safety measurements, including serum calcium and urine calcium/creatinine ratios in the mother and serum calcium levels in the infants were similar in both groups. Maternal 6000 IU/day vitamin D-3 supplementation alone safely optimizes maternal vitamin D status, improves milk vitamin D to maintain adequate infant serum 25(OH)D. It thus provides an alternative option to prevent the burden of vitamin D deficiency in exclusively breastfeeding infants in high-risk populations and warrants further study of the effective dose.