Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements

J Pediatr. 1989 Feb;114(2):204-12. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(89)80784-x.


Objective: To monitor ultraviolet B light exposure in human milk-fed infants both with and without supplemental vitamin D2, and to measure longitudinally the bone mineral content, growth, and serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D2, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and parathyroid hormone.

Design: Longitudinal, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 6 months' duration.

Setting: Patients from private pediatric practice, Madison, Wisconsin.

Patients: Sequential sampling of 46 human milk-fed white infants; 24 received 400 IU/day of vitamin D2, and 22 received placebo. An additional 12 patients were followed who received standard infant formula. Eighty-three percent of patients completed a full 6 months of the study.

Measurements and results: Ultraviolet B light exposure and measurements of growth did not differ between groups. At 6 months, the human milk groups did not differ significantly in bone mineral content or serum concentrations of parathyroid hormone or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, although total 25-hydroxyvitamin D values were significantly less in the unsupplemented human milk group (23.53 +/- 9.94 vs 36.96 +/- 11.86 ng/ml; p less than 0.01). However, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 serum concentrations were significantly higher in the unsupplemented human milk-fed group compared with the supplemented group (21.77 +/- 9.73 vs 11.74 +/- 10.27 ng/ml, p less than 0.01) by 6 months of age.

Conclusion: Unsupplemented, human milk-fed infants had no evidence of vitamin D deficiency during the first 6 months of life.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2
  • Bone and Bones / analysis*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Calcifediol / blood*
  • Calcitriol / blood*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Ergocalciferols / administration & dosage*
  • Ergocalciferols / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ergocalciferols / blood
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Minerals / analysis*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Random Allocation
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis


  • Ergocalciferols
  • Minerals
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcifediol
  • Calcium