Background: Vitamin D (vitD) plays a major role in maintenance of bone mineral homeostasis. It is unknown if bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) differ between infants who receive direct vitD supplementation and those who receive vitD indirectly via their mother's breast milk, while she received a high dose of vitD. It is hypothesized that there would be no differences in BMC or BMD by treatment group. Design/Methods: Randomized, double-blind trial to compare BMD and BMC of infants who received direct vitD (400 IU vitD3/day) in addition to their mother receiving standard dosage (400 IU vitD3/day) versus infants whose mothers were their only source of vitD and were given high-dose supplementation (6,400 IU vitD3/day). Participants were exclusively breastfeeding mothers and their infant consuming only human milk. Infant BMC and BMD were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans of the infant's total body using Hologic Discovery A Densitometer and analyzed using Hologic Infant software at 1, 4, and 7 months of age. Results: Infant BMC and BMD did not differ significantly at 1, 4, or 7 months of age between direct and indirect supplementation arms. The mean difference in BMC from 1 to 7 months was 1.624 and 1.464 g for the 400 and 6,400 IU groups, respectively, (p = 0.5); the mean difference in BMD over this same period was 0.042 and 0.032 g/cm2 for the 400 and 6,400 IU groups, respectively (p = 0.2). Although some differences among races were observed, this did not reflect changes in bone growth between the treatment arms. Conclusion: High-dose vitD supplementation of mothers during lactation provided an efficacious alternative to direct supplementation of infants, as evidenced by noninferior infant BMD and BMC. Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT00412074.
Keywords: bone mineral content (BMC); bone mineral density (BMD); breastfeeding; cholecalciferol; mineralization; vitamin D.