Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation Practices in Preterm Infants: A Survey of Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Intensive and Special Care Units

Nutrients. 2019 Dec 23;12(1):51. doi: 10.3390/nu12010051.


Preterm infants are at increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies as a result of low body stores, maternal deficiencies, and inadequate supplementations. The aim of this survey was to investigate current vitamin and mineral supplementation practices and compare these with published recommendations and available evidence on dosages and long-term outcomes of supplementations in preterm infants. In 2018, a two-part electronic survey was emailed to 50 Australasian Neonatal Dietitians Network (ANDiN) member and nonmember dietitians working in neonatal units in Australia and New Zealand. For inpatients, all units prescribed between 400 and 500 IU/day vitamin D, compared to a recommended intake range of 400-1000 IU/day. Two units prescribed 900-1000 IU/day at discharge. For iron, 83% of respondents prescribed within the recommended intake range of 2-3 mg/kg/day for inpatients. Up to 10% of units prescribed 6 mg/kg/day for inpatients and at discharge. More than one-third of units reported routine supplementations of other micronutrients, including calcium, phosphate, vitamin E, and folic acid. There was significant variation between neonatal units in vitamin and mineral supplementation practices, which may contribute to certain micronutrient intakes above or below recommended ranges for gestational ages or birth weights. The variations in practice are in part due to differences in recommended vitamin and mineral intakes between expert groups and a lack of evidence supporting the recommendations for supplementations.

Keywords: mineral; neonatal; preterm; supplementations; vitamin.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods*
  • Iron, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients / deficiency
  • Minerals / administration & dosage*
  • New Zealand
  • Nutritionists
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Micronutrients
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid