Vitamin D supplementation during lactation to support infant and mother

J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Dec;27(6):690-701. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719746.


How human milk as the ideal infant nutrition lacks vitamin D activity leading to the severe bony deformities and muscle weakness of rickets has stymied scientists and clinicians for centuries. Recent understanding of human vitamin D requirements based on functional indicators of vitamin D activity demonstrate that the majority of humans, including lactating mothers, subsist in a vitamin D insufficient state. In this state, human milk provides inadequate vitamin D supply to the nursing infant. In contrast, with achieving maternal vitamin D sufficiency, human milk attains vitamin D activity equivalent to present infant oral supplementation. Current investigation of the role of vitamin D in diseases beyond bone health is revealing the significance of early life vitamin D sufficiency in establishing lifelong health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Breast Feeding
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Mothers
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Rickets / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / analysis
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin D