Background: In contrast to the studies of vitamin A and E status in children, adolescents and adults, information on preterm infants is scarce. In the present investigation we examined the vitamin A, D and E status of pre-term infants at birth, and verified whether, at 1 and 3 months, breast or formula feeding affected the plasma concentration of those vitamins while being supplemented with Uvesterol ADEC.
Patients and Methods: In this prospective study, 2 groups of consecutively recruited preterm newborns fed either breast milk or formula received 3000 IU of vitamin A, 5 IU of vitamin E and 1000 IU of vitamin D daily. Vitamin A and E were measured by high performance liquid chromatography and spectrophotometry. 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a surrogate marker for vitamin D status, was measured by radioimmunoassay, and retinol binding-protein concentration was measured by immunonephelometry.
Results: At birth, formula-fed and breast-milk fed infants had similar plasma concentrations of vitamin A (0.75 ± 0.20 and 0.64 ± 0.21 m mol/L, ns), 25-hydroxyvitamin D (34.4 ± 25.6 and 47.5 ± 26.7 nmol/L, ns) and vitamin E (9.5 ± 3.2 and 8.4 ± 3.3 μmol/L, ns). Vitamins A and E, and retinol binding-protein concentrations steadily increased with time in both groups of infants without attaining, at 3 months, values considered normal in term infants and in young children. At 3 months of age, concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D reached values comparable to those observed in term infants.
Conclusion: Plasma concentrations of vitamins A and E and of retinol binding-protein steadily increased during the the study without reaching full repletion values. At the conclusion of the study, the type of nutrition did not affect plasma vitamin concentrations.