Objective: To determine the effect of prenatal maternal vitamin D supplementation on infant vitamin D status in a tropical region where vitamin D supplementation is not routine.
Design: A prospective observational follow-up of a randomized trial.
Setting: Maternal-child health facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh (23°N).
Subjects: Infants born to pregnant women (n 160) randomized to receive 875 µg (35 000 IU) cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) per week (VD) or placebo (PL) during the third trimester were followed from birth until 6 months of age (n 115). Infant serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration (25(OH)D) was measured at <1, 2, 4 and 6 months of age.
Results: Mean infant 25(OH)D was higher in the VD v. PL group at <1 month of age (mean (sd): 80 (20) nmol/l v. 22 (18) nmol/l; P<0·001), but the difference was attenuated by 2 months (52 (19) nmol/l v. 40 (23) nmol/l; P=0·05). Groups were similar at 4 months (P=0·40) and 6 months (n 72; P=0·26). In the PL group, mean infant 25(OH)D increased to 78 (95 % CI 67, 88) nmol/l by 6 months of age (n 34). 25(OH)D was higher with infant formula-feeding and higher in summer v. winter.
Conclusions: Prenatal third-trimester vitamin D supplementation (875 µg (35 000 IU)/week) significantly ameliorated infant vitamin D status during the neonatal period when the risk of vitamin D deficiency is greatest. Further research is warranted to determine factors that contribute to the rise in 25(OH)D during the first 6 months of life among breast-fed infants in this setting.
Keywords: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; Bangladesh; Cholecalciferol; Developing countries; Infant; Nutrition; Paediatrics; Pregnancy.