Monday, November 24, 2014
Enhancing weigh gain in a premature infant is a challenge and often very difficult. However, according to a recent study by US researchers, supplementing very premature infants early on with sodium can enhance weight gain.
The results of the study, published in the OnlineFirst version of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), examined 53 premature infants during the first months of life who had been born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy.
The researchers studied the differences between infants who received sodium supplementation and those who received placebo. They found that infants who received sodium gained weight at a faster rate, had lower rates of hyponatraemia, and no increase in common prematurity-related morbidities. These differences were significant.
Proper growth of premature infants has been linked to positive neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, achieving natural growth rates in these infants is difficult. Although sodium is known to promote growth, fortified human milk and commercial formulas often lack the recommended levels of sodium. Additionally, there is little evidence to support the benefits of early sodium supplementation for premature infants.
This study demonstrates the benefits of achieving early sodium intake in accordance with current recommendations in most premature infants.
However, the researchers cite the need for more studies to help determine the optimal dose and duration of sodium therapy in premature infants. They also call for further studies to substantiate the link between sodium supplementation, postnatal growth, and prematurity- related complications.
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