Vitamin D content in human breast milk: a 9-mo follow-up study

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BACKGROUND: Parents are advised to avoid the direct sun exposure of their newborns. Therefore, the vitamin D status of exclusively breastfed newborns is entirely dependent on the supply of vitamin D from breast milk. OBJECTIVES: We explored concentrations of ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) (vitamin D) and 25-hydroxivitamin D2 plus D3 (25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]) in foremilk and hindmilk during the first 9 mo of lactation and identified indexes of importance to the concentrations. DESIGN: We collected blood and breast-milk samples from mothers at 2 wk (n = 107), 4 mo, (n = 90), and 9 mo (n = 48) postpartum. Blood samples from infants were collected 4 and 9 mo after birth. We measured concentrations of vitamin D metabolites in blood and milk samples with the use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Concentrations of vitamin D and 25(OH)D correlated significantly and were higher in hindmilk than in foremilk. Milk concentrations were also correlated with maternal plasma 25(OH)D concentrations. In foremilk and hindmilk, concentrations were a median (IQR) of 1.35% (1.04-1.84%) and 2.10% (1.63-2.65%), respectively, of maternal plasma 25(OH)D concentrations (P < 0.01). Milk concentrations showed a significant seasonal variation. Mothers who were taking vitamin D supplements had higher concentrations than did nonusers. Medians (IQRs) of infant daily intake through breast milk of vitamin D and 25(OH)D were 0.10 μg (0.02-0.40 μg) and 0.34 μg (0.24-0.47 μg), respectively, which were equal to a median (IQR) antirachitic activity of 77 IU/d (52-110 IU/d). CONCLUSIONS: The supply of vitamin D from breast milk is limited. Exclusively breastfed infants received <20% of the daily dose recommended by the Institute of Medicine for infants during the first year of life. This trial was registered at as NCT02548520.
TidsskriftAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Sider (fra-til)107-14
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2016


  • Breast Feeding, infants, nutrition, rickets, vitamin D

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