Vitamin D3 Dosage for Preterm Infants
Babies who are born before term (preemies) are at risk for vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets, a condition characterized by weakening of bones. However, medical organizations have not reached a consensus on how much vitamin D preemies should receive and current dosages range from 400 IU to 1000 IU per day. This prompted investigators from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, to conduct a study on vitamin D supplementation in preterm infants, the largest one to date.
The study, led by Chandra Kumar Natarajan, DM, included 96 infants who were born between 28 and 34 weeks gestation and who were receiving milk feeding. Serum vitamin D levels were measured from their blood samples. The babies were then randomly assigned to receive either 800 IU or 400 IU of vitamin D3orally, with neither the parents nor the investigators being aware of which dose the infants were receiving.
The investigators compared vitamin D levels between the two groups at 40 weeks and at three months and assessed whether babies with higher vitamin D levels had stronger bones. Results showed that before supplementation, infants in both groups suffered from vitamin D insufficiency (VDI). After supplementation, the researchers found that the prevalence of VDI at 40 weeks was 43% lower in the 800 IU group than the 400 IU group and was significantly lower in the 800 IU group when the infants were 3 months old. However, they found that higher levels of vitamin D did not result in better bone mineralization at 3 months of age.
Dr. Natarajan states that their findings show conclusively that supplementation with 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily reduces vitamin D insufficiency in preterm infants.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Preterm infants may need 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day. ScienceDaily.