WASHINGTON, DC Preterm infants may need to be given 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day to ensure they develop strong bones, according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
Preemies are known to be at risk for vitamin D insufficiency. If levels of vitamin D are too low, infants and children can get rickets, which leads to softening and weakening of the bones.
Recommendations from medical organizations on how much vitamin D should be given to preemies range from 400 IU to 1000 IU per day. This lack of consensus prompted researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, to conduct the largest study to date on vitamin D supplementation in preterm infants.
Subjects included 96 infants born between 28 and 34 weeks' gestation who were receiving milk feeding. Blood samples were taken from the infants to determine their serum vitamin D levels. The infants then were randomly assigned to receive either 800 IU or 400 IU of oral vitamin D3. Neither the parents nor the primary investigator was aware of which dose the infants were receiving.
Researchers compared whether the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) at 40 weeks and at 3 months corrected age differed between the groups. They also looked at whether infants with higher vitamin D levels also had stronger bones at 3 months corrected age and whether supplementation led to vitamin D levels that were too high.
Results showed that VDI was common in both groups before they received supplements (79 percent of the 800 IU group and 83 percent of the 400 IU group).
After supplementation, the prevalence of VDI at 40 weeks was 43 percent lower in the 800 IU group than the 400 IU group (38 percent vs. 67 percent). In addition, VDI was significantly lower in the 800 IU group when the infants were 3 months old (12 percent vs. 35 percent).
|Contact: Debbie Jacobson|
American Academy of Pediatrics