Blood Lead Concentration Is Not Altered by High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation in Children and Young Adults With HIV

Groleau, Veronique*; Herold, Rachel A.*; Schall, Joan I.*; Wagner, Julia L.*; Dougherty, Kelly A.*; Zemel, Babette S.*; Rutstein, Richard M.; Stallings, Virginia A.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition:
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182758c4a
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: Optimal vitamin D status is known to have beneficial health effects and vitamin D supplements are commonly used. It has been suggested that vitamin D supplementation may increase blood lead in children and adults with previous lead exposure. The objective was to determine the safety regarding lead toxicity during 12 weeks of high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation in children and young adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods: Subjects with HIV (8–24 years) were randomized to vitamin D3 supplementation of 4000 or 7000 IU/day and followed at 6 and 12 weeks for changes in serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25D) and whole-blood lead concentration. This was a secondary analysis of a larger study of vitamin D3 supplementation in children and adolescents with HIV.

Results: In 44 subjects (75% African American), the baseline mean ± standard deviation serum 25D was 48.3 ± 18.6 nmol/L. Fifty percent of subjects had baseline serum 25D <50.0 nmol/L. Serum 25D increased significantly with D3 supplementation during the 12 weeks. No subject had a whole-blood lead >5.0 μg/dL at baseline or during subsequent visits. Whole-blood lead and 25D were not correlated at baseline, and were negatively correlated after 12 weeks of supplementation (P = 0.014). Whole-blood lead did not differ between those receiving 4000 and 7000 IU of vitamin D3.

Conclusions: High-dose vitamin D3 supplementation and the concomitant increased serum 25D did not result in increased whole-blood lead concentration in this sample of children and young adults living in a northeastern urban city.

Author Information

*Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Veronique Groleau, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3535 Market St, Suite 1556, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

Received 22 March, 2012

Accepted 21 September, 2012 registration number: NCT01092338.

This project was supported in part by the NIH (R01 AT005531) and the Clinical Translational Research Center (UL1RR024134) and the Nutrition Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2013 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN