Vitamin D and iron deficiencies in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy

Neurologia (Engl Ed). 2021 Mar;36(2):112-118. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2017.11.005. Epub 2018 Jan 17.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP) are at a greater risk of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Two deficiencies that we can study and treat are vitaminD (VD) and iron deficiencies; however, no studies have described these deficiencies in Chile.

Objective: To describe the status of VD and iron in patients with CP and evaluate the relationship with certain factors associated with deficiencies of these micronutrients.

Patients and method: We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional study including 69 patients aged between 2 and 21years, from two public hospitals. Data were obtained on demographic variables, motor function, use of feeding tube, and pharmacological treatment. We performed a nutritional assessment according to patterns of CP and determined 25-hydroxyvitaminD (25[OH]D) ferritin, and albumin levels.

Results: Patients' mean age was 11.1±4.9years; 43 (62.3%) were male; and 56 (81.2%) had moderate-to-severe CP. Thirty-five (50.7%) used a nasogastric tube and/or gastrostomy; 15.4% were underweight and 73.8% were eutrophic, all with normal height. Twenty (29%) and 4 patients (6.2%) received VD and iron supplementation, respectively. Albuminaemia was normal in all patients. Mean 25(OH)D level was 24.3±8.8ng/mL; 33 patients (47.8%) had insufficiency and 21 (30.4%) deficiency; 36 patients (52.2%) had low ferritin levels. There was no association between 25(OH)D level and the other variables studied. Low ferritin levels were found to be associated with older age (P=.03), being male (P=.006), and feeding tube use (P=.006).

Conclusions: The patients studied mainly had moderate-to-severe CP, with a high frequency of suboptimal VD values and low plasma ferritin; few patients received VD and/or iron supplementation. We suggest monitoring 25(OH)D and ferritin levels due to the high rate of deficiency of these nutrients; public hospitals should be equipped with drugs to treat these deficiencies.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Ferritin; Ferritina; Parálisis cerebral; Vitamin D; Vitamina D.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Iron
  • Male
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • Iron