Effect of vitamin D supplementation, directly or via breast milk for term infants, on serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D and related biochemistry, and propensity to infection: a randomised placebo-controlled trial

Br J Nutr. 2016 Jul;116(1):52-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516001756. Epub 2016 May 17.


We assessed the effect of vitamin D supplementation on related biochemistry, infection and dentition of the infant. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Lucknow, India (latitude 26°N), 230 mother -newborn pairs were randomised to receive, for 9 months, 3000µg/month oral vitamin D3 by the mother (group A) or 10µg/d by the infant (group B) or double placebo (group C). All babies received 15 min of sun exposure (unclothed) during massage. Infants' median 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was lower in group C (median 45·3; interquartile range (IQR) 22-59·5 nmol/l) than in groups A (median 60·8; IQR 41·3-80·5 nmol/l (P7.5µkat/l) was significantly more frequent in group C babies (16 %) than in group A (4 %) or group B (0 %) babies. The number of days with respiratory or diarrhoeal infection by 9 months of age was higher in group C (median 46·5; IQR 14·8-73·3 d) than in group A (median 18·5; IQR 8·8-31·0 d (P<0·01)) or group B (median 13·0; IQR 7·0-28·5 (P<0·05)). We conclude that monthly maternal or daily infant supplementation with vitamin D along with sun exposure is superior to sun exposure alone in maintaining normal infant 25(OH)D at 3·5 months, and provide protection from elevated alkaline phosphatase and infectious morbidity.

Keywords: 25(OH)D 25-hydroxyvitamin D; IQR interquartile range; Infants; Lactation; PTH parathyroid hormone; Sunshine; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage*
  • Cholecalciferol / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Lactation / metabolism
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Milk, Human*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D