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Study Looks at Vitamin D Needs in Breast-Fed Babies

TUESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Ideal amounts of vitamin D supplementation for breast-feeding infants are unclear, according to a new study.

Vitamin D is important for infant bone growth, but breast-feeding infants are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency due to low levels of the vitamin in breast milk, according to background information included in the study, which was published in the May 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, by Hope Weiler and colleagues at McGill University in Montreal, included 1-month-old healthy breast-fed infants who were followed for 11 months after being randomly assigned to receive different dosages of oral vitamin D supplements. Doses were either 400, 800, 1,200 or 1,600 international units per day.

None of the dosages raised and maintained vitamin D levels within a range recommended by some pediatric societies, but all the dosages raised and maintained vitamin D levels within a lower range recommended by the Institute of Medicine, according to a journal news release.

The study did not pinpoint the ideal dose of vitamin D for infants, Dr. Steven Abrams, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in an accompanying journal editorial. He wrote, however, that clinicians could be reassured from the findings that a daily vitamin D intake of 400 international units was adequate to maintain blood levels recommended for bone health.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers vitamin D supplementation recommendations for breast-fed infants.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, April 30, 2013

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