Vitamin E requirements of preterm infants

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1978 Jul;67(4):459-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1978.tb16354.x.


Differences between feeding practices in earlier investigations prompted the present study of iron and vitamin E supplementation in breast milk fed preterm infants. A new and highly sensitive technique for quantitation of alpha-tocopherol in serum was used. Studies on 34 infants with a birth weight below 2000 g or gestational age less than or equal to 35 weeks showed that supplementation with 16.5 mg tocopheryl acetate/day from 10 days of age resulted in a significantly higher haemoglobin concentration and lower reticulocyte count at 8-10 weeks than supplementation with 1.5 mg/day (p is less than 0.05). Studies on 23 infants with a birth weight of 2000-2499 g revealed subnormal alpha-tocopherol levels in 2 of the infants given 1.5 mg tocopheryl acetate/day but there was no effect on the haemoglobin concentration at 8-10 weeks. There were no untoward effects of an early iron supplementation with 2-3 mg Fe++ (as ferrous succinate)/kg/day. It is concluded that extra supplementation with vitamin E is advisable also in breast milk fed preterm infants. A low dosage iron supplementation from 3 weeks of age is safe.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Platelets
  • Breast Feeding
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Reticulocytes
  • Vitamin E* / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E* / blood


  • Hemoglobins
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron