Hypovitaminosis D and vitamin D deficiency in exclusively breast-feeding infants and their mothers in summer: a justification for vitamin D supplementation of breast-feeding infants

J Pediatr. 2003 Feb;142(2):169-73. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2003.63.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in exclusively breast-feeding infants and their mothers in a community where maternal sunshine exposure is low.

Study design: Serum levels of calcium, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OHD), and intact parathyroid hormone were measured in 90 unsupplemented healthy term breast-feeding Arab/South Asian infants and their mothers in summer. Maternal dietary vitamin D intake was also estimated.

Results: The median age of infants was 6 weeks. The median serum 25-OHD concentrations in mothers (8.6 ng/mL) and infants (4.6 ng/mL) were low, and 61% of the mothers and 82% of the 78 infants tested had hypovitaminosis D (serum 25-OHD <10 ng/mL). The infants with hypovitaminosis D had elevated serum alkaline phosphatase and a tendency to higher serum intact parathyroid hormone levels. The average daily maternal vitamin D intake from commercial milk was 88 IU.

Conclusions: Hypovitaminosis D is common in summer in exclusively breast-feeding infants and their mothers. The results provide justification for vitamin D supplementation of breast-feeding infants and mothers in the United Arab Emirates. Low vitamin D intake probably contributed to low maternal vitamin D status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2 / blood
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / blood
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders / etiology*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphates / blood
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • United Arab Emirates / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium