A recent study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Edition found vitamin D deficiency was common in early preterm infants. The study also suggested that many early preterm infants may not be receiving adequate vitamin D supplementation during hospitalization.
Early preterm infants are infants that are born at or before 32 weeks of conception. They are at risk of low vitamin D status because they obtain their vitamin D from their mothers.
There is a high rate of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women translating to high rates of vitamin D deficiency in infants. Early preterm infants are at an additional risk for vitamin D deficiency, since they often do not have adequate time for proper development and nutrient transfer.
Recently, researchers conducted a study to find out the relationship between vitamin D levels and early preterm infants. They also examined the adequacy of vitamin D supplementation during hospitalization.
The researchers enrolled 120 mother and early preterm infant pairs. They found vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml in 63% of mothers, 64% of infants at birth, and 35% of infants at discharge from the hospital. Sixty percent of the infants had attained 400 IU of vitamin D by discharge.
“In this study, neither the vitamin D intake, nor the recommended serum [vitamin D] concentrations of ≥50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml) were attained in many EPTIs,” the researchers stated.
“The serum [vitamin D] concentrations of infants were directly correlated with maternal vitamin D status at birth. Therefore, vitamin D status should be optimized in pregnant women as part of strategy to replete the offspring.”
The researchers call for increased attention to vitamin D levels and supplementation of vitamin D among early preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units to assure sufficient vitamin D levels.