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Severe vitamin D deficiency extra problematic for newborns, according to new case reports

Posted on: August 23, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


New research out of Qatar suggests that severe vitamin D deficiency may be especially problematic for newborns compared to babies older than six months.

Researchers out of Qatar, led by Dr Ashraf Soliman, took a look at 10 full-term newborns who presented to their hospital with symptomatic low blood calcium. The low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) was due to severe vitamin D deficiency. All of the newborns were symptomatic hypocalcemic because they were suffering from seizures.

When the researchers examined the mother’s vitamin D levels, they all had levels lower than 10 ng/ml.

The researchers then compared the newborns to babies over the age of 6 months who all had rickets due to severe vitamin D deficiency. They wanted to know, even though both suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency, how do other markers compare and why do newborns get seizures while older babies just get rickets?

They found that the older babies had much higher blood calcium, higher parathyroid hormone and lower alkaline phosphatase scores compared to the newborns.

This suggests that compared to newborns, older babies have somewhat adapted to vitamin D deficiency, as their bodies were able to prevent seizures by pulling calcium from their bones (and in consequence, they had rickets). The newborns, on the other hand, weren’t able to pull as much calcium from their bones and thus suffered from seizures.

The researches suggest that it’s then especially important to make sure newborns are getting their vitamin D. “In countries with high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and early supplementation of vitamin D to newborns should be considered to avoid hypocalcemia and skeletal abnormalities in the newborns and growing infants.”


Soliman A et al. Clinical, biochemical, and radiological manifestations of vitamin D deficiency in newborns presented with hypocalcemia. Indian J Endocrionology and Metabolism, 2013.

2 Responses to Severe vitamin D deficiency extra problematic for newborns, according to new case reports

  1. Rita and Misty

    Infants are especially at peril for vitamin D deficiency, as breast milk contains none if the mom doesn’t supplement sufficiently; and baby formula contains little vitamin D, imo.

    “Current research suggests that pregnant and nursing women should take as much as 6,000 iu/daily of D3. A recent reported trial found that taking 6,000 Iu/daily did not lead to hypercalcemia or any other adverse effect among pregnant or nursing mothers, and that taking 2,000 iu/daily did not raise maternal serum vitamin D levels high enough for nursing infant to make adequate serum 25 (OH)D.” (Grant, William B and Peris, Alan N. Possible Role of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Black-White Health Disparities in the United States, 2010)

    Although I am not a scientific researcher, nor am I a physician or health professional, I am obsessed with all things related to vitamin D; and, I know that doses of D up to 10,000 iu/daily are considered SAFE. So, if I were an expectant or breastfeeding mom, I would seriously consider supplementing with 7,000 iu D3/daily. I certainly wouldn’t take less than 6,000 iu D3/daily.

    By the way:
    This is what the “average” expectant mom would perhaps take in a prenatal multivitamin:
    (How healthy do you think she and her precious cargo will be?)



    Look how healthy this “mainstream” baby food is for little junior:
    (Where’s the D???)


    Let’s remember that the Vitamin D Council recommends 1,000 iu D3/daily per every 25 pounds of body weight for children to have an optimal 25(OH)D level. And, the optimal range for children is the same range for adults: 50 ng/ml—80 ng/ml.

    I’ll leave you with this very interesting study:
    Neonatal vitamin D status and risk of schizophrenia: a population-based case-control study


    High and low D levels associated with risk…. I tend to wonder if Denmark expectant mom’s might O.D. on cod liver oil, which in my opinion, contains way too much vitamin A and can interfere with how the body utilizes vitamin D. I know that this isn’t a very technical explanation, and for those of a more scientific bent, I do apologize. Please feel free to comment and add to my brief explanation regarding vitamin A toxicity.

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