Vitamin D supplementation in infants
Infants are born with low vitamin D stores and are dependent on breast milk, sunlight or supplements as sources of vitamin D in the first few months of life. Vitamin D deficiency in infants can lead to bone malformation (rickets), seizures and difficulty breathing.
Infants are particularly vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency because the vitamin D content of breast milk is low and dependent on maternal vitamin D status. Furthermore, sun exposure may be restricted for cultural or other reasons, and infants born at high latitudes will have more limited exposure to the sun. Vitamin D deficiency is also still prevalent among infants living in settings where foods are fortified with vitamin D, and in countries with year-round sun exposure.
Existing evidence suggests that vitamin D supplements may be effective in preventing rickets, particularly for infants and children who may be at higher risk due to limited sun exposure or those with darker skin pigmentation.
Status: guidelines not currently available