News article

Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation in Lactating Mothers and Infants: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Posted:  Thursday, October 13, 2016

Vitamin D Supplementation: Effects on Lactating Mothers and Infants

A double-blinded, randomised trial published in the journal Pediatrics compared the effectiveness of maternal vitamin D3 supplementation (6400 IU/day) alone to maternal and infant supplementation (400 IU/day).

Lactating mothers were randomised to 1 of the 3 vitamin D supplementation regimens: group 1, 400 IU vitamin D3/day (0 IU vitamin D3; placebo and one prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D3); group 2, 2400 IU (2000 vitamin D3/day and one prenatal containing 400 IU vitamin D3); and group 3, 6400 IU vitamin D3/day (6000 IU vitamin D3 and one prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D3). Infants (≥ 35 weeks and in good general health) were administered one drop of liquid suspension vitamin D supplement/day for the 6-month study period: group 1, 400 IU vitamin D3; groups 2 and 3, placebo emulsion containing 0 IU vitamin D3. Maternal and infant serum calcium, phosphorus, circulating 25(OH)D and vitamin D (parent compound), and circulating intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) concentrations were measured.

At 4 months postpartum, women in the 400 IU group, compared to those in the 6400 IU group demonstrated a trend towards having a 25(OH)D level <50 nmol/L. Supplementation with 6400 IU vitamin D3/day safely and significantly increased maternal vitamin D and 25(OH)D from baseline compared to supplementation with 400 IU vitamin D3/day. There was no difference in any of the laboratory parameters tested between infants whose only source of vitamin D was maternal supplementation with 6400 IU and infants who received oral supplementation with 400 IU.

The study demonstrated that maternal supplementation with 6400 IU of vitamin D3/day is safe and superior to 400 IU and also satisfies the infant’s vitamin D requirements. Thus, maternal supplementation with 6400 IU of vitamin D3/day can be an alternate strategy to direct infant supplementation.

News source - Hollis BW, Wagner CL, Howard CR, et al. Maternal Versus Infant Vitamin D Supplementation During Lactation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. 2015; 136(4):625–34.