Increase in Lumbar Spine Bone Mineral Density in Infants Receiving Vitamin D

Experts recommend that breast-fed infants should receive a 400 IU daily dose of vitamin D starting at birth to prevent bone deficiency and bone diseases, such as rickets and osteoporosis.
Marker underlining "Vitamin D".However, it has not yet been explored whether higher doses of vitamin D would increase overall bone mineral density (BMD) in infants.

Canadian researchers examined whether breast-fed infants who were given 800 IU or 1,200 IU of vitamin D daily would experience a boost in bone health after 8 weeks and 20 weeks. They compared this to infants taking a daily dose of 400 IU of vitamin D.

Their paper, “Lumbar spine bone mineral density is enhanced in breast fed infants receiving 800 or 1200 IU of vitamin D daily from 4 to 20 weeks of age,” was presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research.

Healthy, term breast-fed infants (n=116) from the Montreal area were involved in this study. The infants were randomized to 1 of 3 study groups of vitamin D3 daily:

Infants began the study when they were between 4 and 6 weeks old.

The study included data for up to 20 weeks of vitamin D supplementation—at that point, the infants were about 6 months old.

At each time point, whole body bone mineral content and lumbar spine (L1-L4) bone mineral content were measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

In addition, researchers looked at areal BMD for the lumbar spine, and differences were assessed using repeated measures analysis of variance (by ITT) accounting for both within-subject serial correlations and baseline parameters.

The research team noted that age did not differ among groups at each time point (p=0.995).

It was also noted that vitamin D dosage interacted with time (p=0.05) without any major effects.

The research team found that for spine BMD only, targeted estimate statements identified differences in comparison to the 400 IU vitamin D group at both 8 weeks and 20 weeks.

Researchers determined that these data suggest that additional vitamin D may be superior for bone growth in infants. In addition, continued evaluation of infants until they are 1 years old will better establish the effects of treatment on their overall bone development.

  • 400 IU of vitamin D3 group
  • 800 IU of vitamin D3 group
  • 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 group
Updated on: 03/16/17
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