0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Original Contribution |

Effect of Different Dosages of Oral Vitamin D Supplementation on Vitamin D Status in Healthy, Breastfed Infants:  A Randomized Trial FREE

Sina Gallo, RD, MSc; Kathryn Comeau, RD, MSc; Catherine Vanstone, RN, MSc; Sherry Agellon, MSc; Atul Sharma, MD, MSc; Glenville Jones, PhD; Mary L’Abbé, PhD; Ali Khamessan, PhD; Celia Rodd, MD, MSc; Hope Weiler, RD, PhD
[+] Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University (Mss Gallo, Comeau, Vanstone, and Agellon and Drs Rodd and Weiler), Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre (Drs Sharma and Rodd), and Europharm International Canada Inc (Dr Khamessan), Montréal, Québec, Canada; Departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (Dr Jones); and Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr L’Abbé).


JAMA. 2013;309(17):1785-1792. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3404.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Importance Vitamin D supplementation in infancy is required to support healthy bone mineral accretion. A supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D per day is thought to support plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations between 40 and 50 nmol/L; some advocate 75 to 150 nmol/L for bone health.

Objective To investigate the efficacy of different dosages of vitamin D in supporting 25(OH)D concentrations in infants.

Design, Setting, and Participants Double-blind randomized clinical trial conducted among 132 one-month-old healthy, term, breastfed infants from Montréal, Québec, Canada, between March 2007 and August 2010. Infants were followed up for 11 months ending August 2011 (74% completed study).

Intervention Participants were randomly assigned to receive oral cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplements of 400 IU/d (n=39), 800 IU/d (n=39), 1200 IU/d (n=38), or 1600 IU/d (n=16).

Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was a plasma 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of infants at 3 months. Secondary outcomes included 25(OH)D concentrations of 75 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of infants at 6, 9, and 12 months; 25(OH)D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or greater across all times; growth; and whole body and regional bone mineral content. Data were analyzed by intention to treat using available data, logistic regression, and mixed-model analysis of variance.

Results By 3 months, 55% (95% CI, 38%-72%) of infants in the 400-IU/d group achieved a 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/L or greater vs 81%(95% CI, 65%-91%) in the 800-IU/d group, 92% (95% CI, 77%-98%) in the 1200-IU/d group, and 100% in the 1600-IU/d group. This concentration was not sustained in 97.5% of infants at 12 months in any of the groups. The 1600-IU/d dosage was discontinued prematurely because of elevated plasma 25(OH)D concentrations. All dosages established 25(OH)D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or greater in 97% (95% CI, 94%-100%) of infants at 3 months and sustained this in 98% (95% CI, 94%-100%) to 12 months. Growth and bone mineral content did not differ by dosage.

Conclusions and Relevance Among healthy, term, breastfed infants, only a vitamin D supplement dosage of 1600 IU/d (but not dosages of 400, 800, or 1200 IU/d) increased plasma 25(OH)D concentration to 75 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of infants at 3 months. However, this dosage increased 25(OH)D concentrations to levels that have been associated with hypercalcemia.

Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00381914

Figures in this Article

Quiz Ref IDVitamin D is important during periods of rapid bone mineral accrual. Nursing infants are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency because vitamin D in breast milk is limited.1 Pediatric societies in the United States2 and Canada3 recommend 400 IU (10 μg) per day based on maintenance of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations in the range of 75 to 150 nmol/L (30-60 ng/mL). Similarly, the Institute of Medicine's health policy recommendation for infants in North America is 400 IU/d but targets lower 25(OH)D concentrations, between 40 and 50 nmol/L (16-20 ng/mL).4 This policy also established a healthy range of 50 to 125 nmol/L for 25(OH)D concentrations.4

Several functional outcomes have been used to systematically assess the adequacy of vitamin D, including 25(OH)D at various target concentrations (50 and 75 nmol/L), parathyroid hormone concentrations, and bone health.4 However, there is a paucity of such data in infants. In one study,5 bone mineral content (BMC) was lower in infants receiving a supplement of 400 IU/d compared with placebo. The effects of doses higher than 400 IU on bone health are unknown. While France6 and Finland7 recommend vitamin D intakes greater than 1000 IU/d for infants, the lack of well-defined recommendations supports the need for dose-response studies.

The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of different dosages of oral vitamin D in supporting 25(OH)D concentrations in infants.

Overview

The study was a single-center, double-blind, randomized dose-response trial conducted among 132 infants who were randomly assigned at 1 month of age to receive 400, 800, 1200, or 1600 IU/d of oral cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) for 11 months. The primary objective was to establish a dosage of oral vitamin D supplementation that would support 25(OH)D concentrations of 75 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of breastfed infants by 3 months of age. Secondary objectives were to evaluate the dosages that would support plasma concentrations of 25(OH)D of 50 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of infants at 3 months, as well as to evaluate whether concentrations were sustained at 12 months with any dosage, to evaluate growth, and to measure bone mineral accrual from 1 to 12 months of age. Quiz Ref IDThe primary outcome was assessed at 3 months of age because most infants are still predominantly breastfed at this age,8 other sources of vitamin D are limited, and bone modeling is rapid.9 The objectives were designed to provide data to help establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance value, which is defined as the intake level that meets the nutrient requirements of nearly all individuals (97%-98%) in a life-stage group.4 For vitamin D, this recommendation considers 25(OH)D concentration and bone health outcomes. The secondary outcomes, including 25(OH)D concentration, growth, and BMC, were monitored at 5 study visits conducted at 1 (baseline), 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. Growth and safety end points were evaluated at each visit and at an additional visit at 2 months. The study was carried out between March 2007 and August 2011 at the Mary Emily Clinical Nutrition Research Unit of McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada, and was approved by the institutional review board of McGill University and Health Canada. Parents provided written informed consent and received compensation for travel.

Sample

Newborns (≤1 month of age) were referred from Lakeshore General Hospital and 5 pediatric clinics located in greater Montréal between March 2007 and August 2010 (Figure 1). The final study measures were obtained in August 2011, when the last infant reached 12 months of age. Infants who were healthy, term, singleton, appropriate size for gestational age, and breastfeeding (consuming ≥80% of total milk volume) were eligible to participate. Exclusion criteria included infants of mothers with gestational diabetes, hypertension in pregnancy, chronic alcohol use, or malabsorption syndromes. Parents self-identified race/ethnicity, using Canadian Census criteria, to assist in interpretation of vitamin D status10 and bone health assessments.11 Other demographic information including education and income were reported by the mothers.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 1. Participant Flow
Graphic Jump Location

aIn July 2008, the 1600-IU/d group was discontinued because 93% of infants developed plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of 250 mmol/L or greater by age 3 months.

Supplements, Masking, and Adherence

Supplements containing 400, 800, 1200, or 1600 IU of vitamin D3 were formulated by Europharm International Canada Inc and administered in 2-mL/d volume using a standardized dropper; all had similar taste, smell, and appearance. Supplements were provided in precoded bottles of 60-mL volume. Parents and researchers were blinded to treatment dosage. All dosages were proven to be within 10% of target dosage, with an 18-month shelf life. Adherence evaluation included weighing bottles before and after use and recording number of missed doses reported by mothers.

Randomization and Stopping Rules

Following enrollment into the study and baseline measurements, the infants were randomly assigned to 1 of the 4 groups in a 1:1:1:1 allocation ratio. Randomization was stratified by sex in equal blocks of 4. The randomization list was generated using http://www.randomization.com and blinded supplement codes. The codes were revealed only after the statistical analysis was complete.

An independent safety monitoring officer reviewed unblinded data. Stopping rules included hypercalcemia or evidence of plasma 25(OH)D concentrations of 250 nmol/L or greater because such values may be associated with hypercalcemia.3 In July 2008, the 1600-IU/d group was discontinued because 93% of infants (n = 15/16) developed plasma 25(OH)D concentrations of 250 nmol/L or greater by 3 months of age based on an enzyme immunoassay. The protocol was amended and those receiving 1600 IU/d (n = 10; 6-9 months of age) were subsequently switched to the standard-of-care dosage (400 IU/d) until 12 months of age; their data were analyzed by intention to treat (ie, 1600-IU/d group). Those recruited at 1 month of age after July 2008 (n = 17) were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to the remaining 3 groups12 and analyzed in their respective group (Figure 1).

Endogenous and Dietary Vitamin D Sources

Potential for endogenous synthesis of vitamin D through exposure to sunlight was assessed by questionnaire and sun index (hours per week of sun exposure multiplied by percentage body surface area exposed).13 Vitamin D in breast milk was estimated from the volume of breast milk consumed over a 24-hour period.14 Vitamin D from other foods was assessed using 3-day dietary records completed by parents after each visit. Nutrient intake was generated using Nutritionist Pro software version 4.7.0 (Axxya Systems LLC) and the 2010b Canadian Nutrient File database (Health Canada).

Plasma 25(OH)D and Other Vitamin D Metabolites

Capillary plasma samples from heel or finger were stored frozen at −80°C for batch analysis. Samples were screened for safety assessments for plasma 25(OH)D at McGill University using an enzyme immunoassay (Octeia, Immunodiagnostic Systems Ltd). A commonly used15 radioimmunoassay for measurement of 25(OH)D (DiaSorin Inc) and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)16 were used to measure the primary outcome. The immunoassays quantify total 25(OH)D, whereas the LC-MS/MS assay separately quantifies 25(OH)D isomers (25[OH]D2 + 25[OH]D3), as well as the 3-epimer-25(OH)D17 and 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (24,25[OH]2D) which may interfere in immunoassays.18 Plasma 25(OH)D, 3-epimer-25(OH)D, and 24,25(OH)2D were quantified (Warnex Bioanalytical Services) based on internal standards: 25(OH)D3-d(6) (Chemaphor Inc), 25(OH)D2-d(3) (Isosciences), and 3-epi-25(OH)D3-d(6) and 24,25(OH)2D3-d(6) (Toronto Research Chemicals). Briefly, following liquid-liquid extraction, vitamin D metabolites were derivatized using a substituted triazolinedione in a Diels-Alder addition,19,20 separated on a high-performance liquid chromatograph system, and detected using an API-4000 (ABSciex ON) or a TSQ-Vantage LC-MS/MS instrument (Thermo Scientific). All infants had vitamin D2 metabolites below the limit of quantification. The intra-assay coefficient of variation was less than 15% for all vitamin D metabolites across all assays; the laboratories were certified by the Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme to facilitate comparison with other laboratories.

Safety Outcomes

The safety end points were selected to comprehensively examine calcium homeostasis and risk of soft tissue calcification.3,4 Blood-ionized calcium (ABL 725 series blood gas analyzer; Radiometer America) and plasma total calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, and urinary calcium:creatinine were measured (Beckman Coulter DxC600) within 4 hours of collection. Parathyroid hormone was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Immutopics International). Intra-assay coefficient of variation was less than 5%. Without normative reference limits for ionized calcium and urinary calcium:creatinine in healthy infants, these were extrapolated from hospitalized older children. Any safety measures with results outside the normal range were repeated; if confirmed as such, the infant was switched to the standard of care (400 IU/d vitamin D3) but analyzed per intention to treat.

Secondary Efficacy Outcomes

The proportion of infants who maintained plasma 25(OH)D concentrations of 75 nmol/L or greater at 6, 9, and 12 months of age were explored as secondary outcomes, as was the proportion who maintained 25(OH)D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or greater. At each visit, nude weight (infant scale model SB 32000, Mettler-Toledo Inc), length (O’Learly Length Board, Ellard Instrumentation Ltd), and head circumference (nonstretchable tape) were measured and reported as absolute units, and z scores were calculated using World Health Organization growth standards.21 Bone mineral content and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured at each of the 5 study visits using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (Hologic 4500A Discovery, APEX software version 13.2:1, Hologic Inc). Infants were scanned in array mode to obtain BMC of the whole body, lumbar spine vertebrae 1 to 4, and whole femur while sleeping (nonsedated) as previously described.10,22 Change in BMC was calculated between visits. The coefficient of variation was 1% for BMC and 0.3% for BMD using a spine phantom (Hologic phantom No. 14774).

Sample Size

The primary objective was to determine which dosage met the plasma 25(OH)D threshold of 75 nmol/L in at least 97.5% of infants at 3 months of age. The sample estimate assumed that 50% of the infants in the 400-IU/d group would be able to achieve a 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/L or greater by 3 months. To achieve our target, this would require a change of 47.5% from the 400-IU/d group. Using a χ2 statistic to compare proportions, 23 infants per group gave the study greater than 90% power at the .05 significance level. Assuming 20% dropout and an additional 20% to compensate for early weaning from breastfeeding, 32 participants per group would be necessary at 3 months.

Statistical Analysis

Baseline differences among groups were tested using analysis of variance (ANOVA) for continuous variables and χ2 (with Fisher exact tests for small sample sizes) for categorical variables (including recruitment site); characteristics with differences among groups were included as covariates in regression modeling. Group differences in breastfeeding status and adherence (proportion of treatments taken) were analyzed using χ2 at each time point. Infant anthropometry, dietary intake, and sun exposure variables were tested across treatments and time (repeated-measures mixed-model analysis of variance). In evaluating 25(OH)D concentrations at each time, differences among treatments were tested using the existing data and logistic regression without imputing the small number of missing observations. Careful comparisons of participants with missing and fully observed data were consistent with data missing at random. The effects of vitamin D dosage on plasma 25(OH)D concentration, safety biochemistry, growth, and bone mineral accretion were also explored and tested using repeated-measures mixed-model analysis of variance with time-treatment interactions. The mixed-model analysis of variance estimates the effect size based on available data (Figure 1 and Figure 2), and participants with missing data are not dropped, mitigating the need for imputation.23 Post hoc tests (estimate statements) were used to test for differences between the 400-IU/d and higher dosage groups (800 and 1200 IU/d). The 1600-IU/d group was not included in the statistical models because of its discontinuation; data are presented descriptively. Statistical significance was set at P ≤.05 with 2-tailed testing. Data were analyzed using SAS version 9.2 statistical software (SAS Institute Inc).

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 2. Percentage of Infants Achieving at Least 75 nmol/L and 50 nmol/L of Plasma 25(OH)D Concentration at 3, 6, 9, and 12 Months Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Graphic Jump Location

Error bars indicate 95% CIs. 25(OH)D indicates 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
* P < .05 vs 400-IU/d group.

Of 937 referred infants, 275 were excluded, 530 did not consent, and 132 were enrolled (Figure 1), of whom 84% were taking a vitamin D supplement (400 IU/d). Maternal and infant baseline characteristics were similar among groups except for mother's race (P = .03); thus, race was included as a covariate in all analyses (Table). There were no differences in attrition rates (Figure 1), referring center, or reported adherence (eTable 1) across treatment groups. Overall, 88% of infants received breast milk up to 6 months of age and 35% up to 12 months. Time, but not group, differences were observed in nutrient intakes, including dietary vitamin D and sun exposure (eTable 1). Maternal education and infant baseline 25(OH)D concentrations were lower in dropouts vs completers, and more dropouts were nonwhite (eTable 2).

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable. Baseline Characteristics of Participating Infants and Their Mothers

The percentage of infants achieving the primary outcome of 75 nmol/L of 25(OH)D differed at 3 months by group (for 400 IU/d, 55% [95% CI, 38%-72%]; for 800 IU/d, 81% [95% CI, 65%-91%]; for 1200 IU/d, 92% [95% CI, 77%-98%]; and for 1600 IU/d, 100%) (Figure 2A). The percentage of infants at 6, 9, and 12 months who met or exceeded the target cutoff of 75 nmol/L of 25(OH)D declined with time. The crude and adjusted logistic regression models (eTable 3) indicate that at 3 months and after adjusting for race only (model 1), the 800-IU/d had an odds ratio of 3.5 (95% CI, 1.1-11.0) vs the 400-IU/d group for achieving a 25(OH)D concentration of 75 nmol/L or greater, whereas the odds ratio for achieving this in the 1200-IU/d vs 400-IU/d group was 9.7 (95% CI, 1.9-49.7). Adjusting for sex and period of birth (model 2) did not change these results.

Overall, 97% (95% CI, 94%-100%) of infants in all treatment groups achieved the secondary outcome of 50 nmol/L or greater of plasma 25(OH)D by 3 months of age, with no differences among groups (for 400 IU/d, 97% [95% CI, 91%-100%]; 800 IU/d, 97% [95% CI, 91%-100%]; 1200 IU/d, 96% [95% CI, 89%-100%]; and 1600 IU/d, 100%) (Figure 2B). This concentration was sustained in 98% (95% CI, 94%-100%) of infants at 12 months. The 25(OH)D concentrations in all groups peaked at approximately 3 months with mean concentrations of 78 (95% CI, 71-84) nmol/L in the 400-IU/d group, 102 (95% CI, 90-114) nmol/L in the 800-IU/d group, 134 (95% CI, 118-150) nmol/L in the 1200-IU/d group, and 180 (95% CI, 154-207) nmol/L in the 1600-IU/d group (Figure 3).

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 3. Mean Plasma 25(OH)D Concentrations by Vitamin D3 Supplementation Dosage Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Graphic Jump Location

Black data markers indicate means; error bars indicate 95% CIs. 25(OH)D indicates 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Data for each participant are shown as a spaghetti plot underlying the summary estimates.

Differences were observed in the values of plasma 25(OH)D obtained using different methods (eFigure 1); the enzyme immunoassay tended to overestimate and the radioimmunoassay to underestimate 25(OH)D concentrations vs LC-MS/MS. The 3-epimer-25(OH)D, measured by LC-MS/MS, was present in 98% of all samples tested. In proportion to plasma 25(OH)D, 3-epimer-25(OH)D was equivalent to 30% to 40% of plasma 25(OH)D at baseline and declined to approximately 10% by 12 months (eFigure 2A). Plasma 24,25(OH)2D, measured by LC-MS/MS, was equivalent to approximately 15% of plasma 25(OH)D concentration (eFigure 2B). Concentrations of both 3-epimer-25(OH)D and 24,25(OH)2D3 were different only at 2 and 3 months and only in the 400-IU/d vs 1200-IU/d groups.

Bone mineral concentration increased over time for lumbar spine, femur, and whole body (eFigure 3) but did not differ by group. Similarly, lumbar spine BMD did not differ by group or time. Infants grew in an age-appropriate way over time, with no differences by group (eFigure 4A-C).

Ionized calcium and urinary calcium:creatinine values (eFigure 4D-E) declined over time, with no treatment interaction. Plasma parathyroid hormone values increased over time without treatment or interaction effects (eFigure 4F). Over the 11 months, total plasma calcium (median, 2.52 [interquartile range {IQR}, 2.47-2.57] mmol/L), alkaline phosphatase (median, 240 [IQR, 193-289] U/L), and phosphate (median, 1.89 [IQR, 1.74-2.01] mmol/L) differed over time, but no differences among groups were noted. Forty-two infants were retested because the results of their safety measurements were outside the normal range (n = 9 in the 400-IU/d, n = 10 in the 800-IU/d, n = 17 in 1200-IU/d, and n = 6 in the 1600-IU/d groups). Based on these results and suspected hypercalcemia (n = 2 in the 800-IU/d, n = 2 in the 1200-IU/d, and n = 2 in the 1600-IU/d groups) or suspected hypercalciuria (n = 1 in the 800-IU/d, n = 1 in the 1200-IU/d, and n = 1 in the 1600-IU/d groups), additional safety procedures (electrocardiogram or renal ultrasound) were conducted at the Montreal Children's Hospital; all results were normal.

Quiz Ref IDOur primary objective was to establish a vitamin D dosage that would support a plasma concentration of 25(OH)D of 75 nmol/L or greater in 97.5% of infants at 3 months of age. Only the 1600-IU/d dosage of vitamin D met this criterion; however, this dosage was discontinued because most infants in that group developed elevated plasma 25(OH)D concentrations that have been associated with hypercalcemia.4 Although a higher percentage of infants in the 800-IU/d and 1200-IU/d groups achieved 75 nmol/L of 25(OH)D (81% and 92%, respectively), only 55% of infants did so in the 400-IU/d group at 3 months. Thus, the primary outcome was not achieved at 3 months, when plasma 25(OH)D concentrations were highest; all dosages failed except the highest dosage, which appears to be too high. Furthermore, in none of the groups was this concentration sustained in 97.5% of infants at 12 months. In contrast, regardless of vitamin D dosage, 97% of our infant population achieved the secondary outcome of a 25(OH)D concentration of 50 nmol/L at 3 months and 98% from 6 to 12 months.

Quiz Ref IDA dose-response study of vitamin D intake and bone health has been lacking in infants.4 Despite our demonstration of a dose-response relationship in plasma 25(OH)D concentrations relative to vitamin D dosage, no such response was observed in BMC or accrual. Similarly, older studies did not find improvements in bone mineral accretion5 or content25 over 26 weeks with 400 IU/d of vitamin D vs placebo. Bone mineral accretion in breastfed infants is likely optimal and less affected by vitamin D supplementation unless an underlying deficiency exists. Alternatively, the sensitivity of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to detect small changes in infants over an 11-month period may not be sufficient. Possible benefits to bone may take longer to present, as shown in prospective studies.26

The safety of vitamin D dosages greater than 400 IU/d has not been tested in infants. The tolerable upper intake levels for infants aged 0 to 6 months of 1000 IU/d and for those aged 6 to 12 months of 1500 IU/d were established based on a no-observed-adverse-effect level of 1800 IU/d.4 This level was established from data collected in 193827 showing that vitamin D greater than 1800 IU/d for 6 months impaired linear growth. Our data did not demonstrate abnormalities in growth or calcium homeostasis. Although the 1600-IU/d group was discontinued, this was based on 25(OH)D concentrations exceeding the normal range.3 The other safety procedures were designed to monitor safety end points at the individual level and were thus not powered to test for safety at the population level. Reassuringly, a cohort of 10 060 Finnish infants followed up prospectively7 for 31 years showed that dosages up to 2000 IU/d did not alter linear growth. A randomized clinical trial28 found similar increases in circulating 25(OH)D concentrations with dosages up to 1600 IU/d for 3 months; however, uncertainty still remains about this high dosage.

Concentrations of 25(OH)D declined from 3 to 12 months of age in all groups although dietary vitamin D sources increased. This decline in all groups may be due to decreased adherence, but it is more likely that the changes reflect the relative intake over time. For example, infants in the 400-IU/d group at 3 months would have received 64 IU/kg, whereas this declined to 42 IU/kg at 12 months. Whether the lower values may reflect increased requirements based on larger size and hepatic maturity is unclear.

During the study, several methods were examined to measure vitamin D metabolites in a selective, sensitive, and accurate manner. Even though the radioimmunoassay has been widely used,15,29 we chose LC-MS/MS to interpret our key observations because it is now considered a gold-standard assay.30 Discrepancies among antibody-based methods in cross-method comparisons31,32 and our findings question the usefulness of antibody-based methods for infant assessments.33 In agreement with others,17 an abundance of 3-epimer-25(OH)D was observed during the first year of life, although its biological significance is unclear. In addition, 24,25(OH)2D was equivalent to 15% of the 25(OH)D pool in infant samples. To our knowledge, the present study represents the first analyses of the several key vitamin D metabolites during infancy; these metabolite concentrations mirror vitamin D intake.

Even though this study has many strengths, including rigorous methods, the data may not represent all Canadian infants because the sample consisted of a large proportion of well-educated, high-income mothers, and baseline plasma 25(OH)D concentrations at 1 month of age were robust, with an average of 59 nmol/L (95% CI, 55-63 nmol/L). The population studied was underrepresented in participants with darker skin pigmentation, who are at higher risk of deficiency.3,4 Moreover, the study may have been underpowered to test for some secondary outcomes and too short to assess for benefits to bone. A larger, more heterogeneous group would need to be studied.

In conclusion, only the 1600-IU/d dosage of vitamin D met the 25(OH)D concentration target of 75 nmol/L or greater, confirming the guidelines of the Endocrine Society.2 However, it also led to plasma 25(OH)D concentrations that exceeded the healthy population target range of 50 to 125 nmol/L.4Quiz Ref IDFurthermore, dosages of vitamin D exceeding 400 IU/d provide no additional benefits for bone mineral accretion up to 1 year of age. Additional studies are required before conclusions can be made regarding higher targets or the needs of high-risk groups.

Corresponding Author: Hope Weiler, RD, PhD, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Rd, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec H9X 3V9, Canada (hope.weiler@mcgill.ca).

Author Contributions: Drs Rodd and Weiler, the senior authors of this article, had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Study concept and design: Sharma, Jones, L’Abbé, Khamessan, Rodd, Weiler.

Acquisition of data: Gallo, Comeau, Vanstone, Agellon, Jones, Weiler.

Analysis and interpretation of data: Gallo, Sharma, Jones, L’Abbé, Rodd, Weiler.

Drafting of the manuscript: Gallo, Vanstone, Rodd, Weiler.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Gallo, Sharma, Rodd, Weiler.

Obtained funding: Jones, Rodd, Weiler.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Gallo, Comeau, Vanstone, Agellon, Jones, Khamessan, Rodd, Weiler.

Study supervision: Gallo, Vanstone, Agellon, L’Abbé, Rodd, Weiler.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Ms Gallo reports travel support from CIHR Human Development Child and Youth Health and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr Sharma reports consulting fees for analyses prepared for Drs Weiler and Rodd. Dr Jones reports that he is cofounder and scientific advisory board member for Cytochroma Inc and has received payment for speakers bureaus from Genzyme/Sanofi. No other disclosures were reported.

Funding/Support: This work was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Nutricia Research Foundation, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and in-kind support from Europharm International Canada Inc for provision of the supplements. Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec provided personal funding for the doctoral student (Ms Gallo) and the Canada Research Chairs provided a salary award to Dr Weiler.

Role of the Sponsor: The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Previous Presentations: This work was presented at the Experimental Biology meeting on April 21, 2012; at the Canadian Nutrition Society meeting on May 25, 2012; at the Canadian Paediatric Society conference on June 8, 2012; and at the British Columbia Children's Hospital and Montreal Children's Hospital Grand Rounds on March 23, 2012, and May 2, 2012, respectively.

Online-Only Material: The Author Audio Interview is available here.

Additional Contributions: We thank John Mitchell, MD, FRCPC, Montreal Children's Hospital, for his unpaid role as safety officer, the Montreal Children's Hospital clinical laboratory for mineral analyses, and all of the pediatricians as well as Lakeshore General Hospital maternity ward for help with recruitment. We thank McGill University graduate students Samira Bou Raad, MSc, Saja Al Saleh, MSc, Sonia Jean-Philippe, RD, MSc, and Anna Phan, RD, MSc, for help with study measurements. Mss Jean-Philippe and Phan received financial remuneration for their assistance in dietary assessment. Finally, we thank all of the families who agreed to participate in this study and the Mary Emily Clinical Nutrition Research Unit of the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.

Reeve LE, Chesney RW, DeLuca HF. Vitamin D of human milk: identification of biologically active forms.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1982;36(1):122-126
PubMed
Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA,  et al; Endocrine Society.  Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930
PubMed   |  Link to Article
First Nations Inuit and Métis Health Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society.  Vitamin D supplementation: recommendations for Canadian mothers and infants.  J Paediatr Child Health. 2007;12(7):583-589
Institute of Medicine.  Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2011
Greer FR, Marshall S. Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements.  J Pediatr. 1989;114(2):204-212
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Vidailhet M, Garabédian M. Vitamin D requirements for French children.  Arch Pediatr. 2010;17(6):808-809
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Hyppönen E, Fararouei M, Sovio U,  et al.  High-dose vitamin D supplements are not associated with linear growth in a large Finnish cohort.  J Nutr. 2011;141(5):843-848
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Health Canada.  Trends in Breastfeeding Practices in Canada (2001 to 2009-2010). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/prenatal/trends-tendances-eng.php. Accessed November 2012
Rauch F, Schoenau E. Changes in bone density during childhood and adolescence: an approach based on bone's biological organization.  J Bone Miner Res. 2001;16(4):597-604
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Weiler H, Fitzpatrick-Wong S, Veitch R,  et al.  Vitamin D deficiency and whole-body and femur bone mass relative to weight in healthy newborns.  CMAJ. 2005;172(6):757-761
PubMed
Weiler HA, Fitzpatrick-Wong SC, Schellenberg JM. Bone mass in First Nations, Asian and white newborn infants.  Growth Dev Aging. 2008;71(1):35-43
PubMed
Moher D, Hopewell S, Schulz KF,  et al.  CONSORT 2010 explanation and elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials.  BMJ. 2010;340:c869
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Barger-Lux MJ, Heaney RP. Effects of above average summer sun exposure on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium absorption.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(11):4952-4956
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Scanlon KS, Alexander MP, Serdula MK, Davis MK, Bowman BA. Assessment of infant feeding: the validity of measuring milk intake.  Nutr Rev. 2002;60(8):235-251
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Looker AC, Dawson-Hughes B, Calvo MS, Gunter EW, Sahyoun NR. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of adolescents and adults in 2 seasonal subpopulations from NHANES III.  Bone. 2002;30(5):771-777
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Singh RJ. Quantitation of 25-OH-vitamin D (25OHD) using liquid tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS).  Methods Mol Biol. 2010;603:509-517
PubMed
Singh RJ, Taylor RL, Reddy GS, Grebe SK. C-3 epimers can account for a significant proportion of total circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D in infants, complicating accurate measurement and interpretation of vitamin D status.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006;91(8):3055-3061
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Siomou E, Challa A, Tzoufi M, Papadopoulou ZL, Lapatsanis PD, Siamopoulou A. Biochemical markers of bone metabolism in infants and children under intravenous corticosteroid therapy.  Calcif Tissue Int. 2003;73(4):319-325
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Aronov PA, Hall LM, Dettmer K, Stephensen CB, Hammock BD. Metabolic profiling of major vitamin D metabolites using Diels-Alder derivatization and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.  Anal Bioanal Chem. 2008;391(5):1917-1930
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Ding S, Schoenmakers I, Jones K, Koulman A, Prentice A, Volmer DA. Quantitative determination of vitamin D metabolites in plasma using UHPLC-MS/MS.  Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010;398(2):779-789
PubMed   |  Link to Article
WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group.  WHO Child Growth Standards: Length/Height-for-Age, Weight-for-Age, Weight-for-Length, Weight-for-Height and body Mass Index-for-Age: Methods and Development. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2006
Gallo S, Vanstone CA, Weiler HA. Normative data for bone mass in healthy term infants from birth to 1 year of age.  J Osteoporos. 2012;2012:672403
PubMed
Shieh Y-Y. Imputation methods on general linear mixed models of longitudinal studies. http://www.fcsm.gov/03papers/Shieh.pdf. Accessed March 3, 2013
Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF. Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988;67(2):373-378
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Greer FR, Searcy JE, Levin RS, Steichen JJ, Steichen-Asche PS, Tsang RC. Bone mineral content and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in breast-fed infants with and without supplemental vitamin D: 1-year follow-up.  J Pediatr. 1982;100(6):919-922
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Zamora SA, Rizzoli R, Belli DC, Slosman DO, Bonjour JP. Vitamin D supplementation during infancy is associated with higher bone mineral mass in prepubertal girls.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84(12):4541-4544
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Jeans P, Stearns G. The effect of vitamin D on linear growth in infancy, II: the effect of intakes above 1800 USP units daily.  J Pediatr. 1938;13:730-740
Link to Article
Holmlund-Suila E, Viljakainen H, Hytinantti T, Lamberg-Allardt C, Andersson S, Mäkitie O. High-dose vitamin d intervention in infants—effects on vitamin D status, calcium homeostasis, and bone strength.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(11):4139-4147
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Looker AC, Pfeiffer CM, Lacher DA, Schleicher RL, Picciano MF, Yetley EA. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of the US population: 1988-1994 compared with 2000-2004.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(6):1519-1527
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Phinney KW, Bedner M, Tai SS,  et al.  Development and certification of a standard reference material for vitamin D metabolites in human serum.  Anal Chem. 2012;84(2):956-962
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Carter GD. Accuracy of 25-hydroxyvitamin D assays: confronting the issues.  Curr Drug Targets. 2011;12(1):19-28
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Glendenning P, Fraser WD. 25-OH-vitamin D assays.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(5):3129
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Abrams SA. What are the risks and benefits to increasing dietary bone minerals and vitamin D intake in infants and small children?  Annu Rev Nutr. 2011;31(31):285-297
PubMed   |  Link to Article

Figures

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 1. Participant Flow
Graphic Jump Location

aIn July 2008, the 1600-IU/d group was discontinued because 93% of infants developed plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of 250 mmol/L or greater by age 3 months.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 2. Percentage of Infants Achieving at Least 75 nmol/L and 50 nmol/L of Plasma 25(OH)D Concentration at 3, 6, 9, and 12 Months Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Graphic Jump Location

Error bars indicate 95% CIs. 25(OH)D indicates 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
* P < .05 vs 400-IU/d group.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 3. Mean Plasma 25(OH)D Concentrations by Vitamin D3 Supplementation Dosage Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Graphic Jump Location

Black data markers indicate means; error bars indicate 95% CIs. 25(OH)D indicates 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Data for each participant are shown as a spaghetti plot underlying the summary estimates.

Tables

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable. Baseline Characteristics of Participating Infants and Their Mothers

References

Reeve LE, Chesney RW, DeLuca HF. Vitamin D of human milk: identification of biologically active forms.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1982;36(1):122-126
PubMed
Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA,  et al; Endocrine Society.  Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930
PubMed   |  Link to Article
First Nations Inuit and Métis Health Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society.  Vitamin D supplementation: recommendations for Canadian mothers and infants.  J Paediatr Child Health. 2007;12(7):583-589
Institute of Medicine.  Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2011
Greer FR, Marshall S. Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements.  J Pediatr. 1989;114(2):204-212
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Vidailhet M, Garabédian M. Vitamin D requirements for French children.  Arch Pediatr. 2010;17(6):808-809
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Hyppönen E, Fararouei M, Sovio U,  et al.  High-dose vitamin D supplements are not associated with linear growth in a large Finnish cohort.  J Nutr. 2011;141(5):843-848
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Health Canada.  Trends in Breastfeeding Practices in Canada (2001 to 2009-2010). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/prenatal/trends-tendances-eng.php. Accessed November 2012
Rauch F, Schoenau E. Changes in bone density during childhood and adolescence: an approach based on bone's biological organization.  J Bone Miner Res. 2001;16(4):597-604
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Weiler H, Fitzpatrick-Wong S, Veitch R,  et al.  Vitamin D deficiency and whole-body and femur bone mass relative to weight in healthy newborns.  CMAJ. 2005;172(6):757-761
PubMed
Weiler HA, Fitzpatrick-Wong SC, Schellenberg JM. Bone mass in First Nations, Asian and white newborn infants.  Growth Dev Aging. 2008;71(1):35-43
PubMed
Moher D, Hopewell S, Schulz KF,  et al.  CONSORT 2010 explanation and elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials.  BMJ. 2010;340:c869
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Barger-Lux MJ, Heaney RP. Effects of above average summer sun exposure on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calcium absorption.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(11):4952-4956
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Scanlon KS, Alexander MP, Serdula MK, Davis MK, Bowman BA. Assessment of infant feeding: the validity of measuring milk intake.  Nutr Rev. 2002;60(8):235-251
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Looker AC, Dawson-Hughes B, Calvo MS, Gunter EW, Sahyoun NR. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of adolescents and adults in 2 seasonal subpopulations from NHANES III.  Bone. 2002;30(5):771-777
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Singh RJ. Quantitation of 25-OH-vitamin D (25OHD) using liquid tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS).  Methods Mol Biol. 2010;603:509-517
PubMed
Singh RJ, Taylor RL, Reddy GS, Grebe SK. C-3 epimers can account for a significant proportion of total circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D in infants, complicating accurate measurement and interpretation of vitamin D status.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006;91(8):3055-3061
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Siomou E, Challa A, Tzoufi M, Papadopoulou ZL, Lapatsanis PD, Siamopoulou A. Biochemical markers of bone metabolism in infants and children under intravenous corticosteroid therapy.  Calcif Tissue Int. 2003;73(4):319-325
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Aronov PA, Hall LM, Dettmer K, Stephensen CB, Hammock BD. Metabolic profiling of major vitamin D metabolites using Diels-Alder derivatization and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.  Anal Bioanal Chem. 2008;391(5):1917-1930
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Ding S, Schoenmakers I, Jones K, Koulman A, Prentice A, Volmer DA. Quantitative determination of vitamin D metabolites in plasma using UHPLC-MS/MS.  Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010;398(2):779-789
PubMed   |  Link to Article
WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group.  WHO Child Growth Standards: Length/Height-for-Age, Weight-for-Age, Weight-for-Length, Weight-for-Height and body Mass Index-for-Age: Methods and Development. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2006
Gallo S, Vanstone CA, Weiler HA. Normative data for bone mass in healthy term infants from birth to 1 year of age.  J Osteoporos. 2012;2012:672403
PubMed
Shieh Y-Y. Imputation methods on general linear mixed models of longitudinal studies. http://www.fcsm.gov/03papers/Shieh.pdf. Accessed March 3, 2013
Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF. Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988;67(2):373-378
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Greer FR, Searcy JE, Levin RS, Steichen JJ, Steichen-Asche PS, Tsang RC. Bone mineral content and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in breast-fed infants with and without supplemental vitamin D: 1-year follow-up.  J Pediatr. 1982;100(6):919-922
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Zamora SA, Rizzoli R, Belli DC, Slosman DO, Bonjour JP. Vitamin D supplementation during infancy is associated with higher bone mineral mass in prepubertal girls.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84(12):4541-4544
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Jeans P, Stearns G. The effect of vitamin D on linear growth in infancy, II: the effect of intakes above 1800 USP units daily.  J Pediatr. 1938;13:730-740
Link to Article
Holmlund-Suila E, Viljakainen H, Hytinantti T, Lamberg-Allardt C, Andersson S, Mäkitie O. High-dose vitamin d intervention in infants—effects on vitamin D status, calcium homeostasis, and bone strength.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(11):4139-4147
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Looker AC, Pfeiffer CM, Lacher DA, Schleicher RL, Picciano MF, Yetley EA. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of the US population: 1988-1994 compared with 2000-2004.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(6):1519-1527
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Phinney KW, Bedner M, Tai SS,  et al.  Development and certification of a standard reference material for vitamin D metabolites in human serum.  Anal Chem. 2012;84(2):956-962
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Carter GD. Accuracy of 25-hydroxyvitamin D assays: confronting the issues.  Curr Drug Targets. 2011;12(1):19-28
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Glendenning P, Fraser WD. 25-OH-vitamin D assays.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(5):3129
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Abrams SA. What are the risks and benefits to increasing dietary bone minerals and vitamin D intake in infants and small children?  Annu Rev Nutr. 2011;31(31):285-297
PubMed   |  Link to Article
CME


You need to register in order to view this quiz.

Multimedia

Supplemental Content

Gallo S, Comeau K, Vanstone C, et al. Effect of different dosages of oral vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status in healthy, breastfed infants: a randomized trial. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3404

eTable 1. Changes Over Time

eTable 2. Completers vs Dropouts

eTable 3. Logistic Regression Model for Main Objective

eFigure 1. Mean [95% CI] Plasma 25(OH)D Concentrations by Enzyme Immunoassay (A) and Radioimmunoassay (B)

eFigure 2. Mean [95% CI] Plasma 3-Epimer-25(OH)D (A) and 24,25(OH)2D3 (B) Concentrations by LC-MS/MS

eFigure 3. Mean [95% CI] Lumbar Spine BMC (A) and Accretion (B); Femur BMC (C) and Accretion (D); Whole Body BMC (E) and Accretion (F)

eFigure 4. Mean [95% CI] Safety Parameters for Mineral Status and Growth by Age and Treatment Weight-for-Age Z-Score (A), Length-for-Age Z-Score (B), Head Circumference-for-Age Z-Score (C), Ionized Calcium (D), Urinary Calcium:Creatinine (E), Plasma PTH (F)

Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 14

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Related Multimedia

Author Interview

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles