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Oral Vitamin A, E and D Supplementation of Pre-Term Newborns either Breast-Fed or Formula-Fed: a 3-Month Longitudinal Study

Delvin, Edgard E.*†; Salle, Bernard L.; Claris, Olivier; Putet, Guy; Hascoet, Jean-Michel; Desnoulez, Laure§; Messai, Sam; Lévy, Émile

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: January 2005 - Volume 40 - Issue 1 - p 43-47
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

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.

*Département de Biochimie Clinique, †Centre de recherche, Hôpital Ste-Justine, Montréal, Canada; Services de Réanimation et de Néonatologie: ‡Hôpitaux Édouard Herriot, §Hôpital-Nord, Lyon; ¶Maternité Régionale Universitaire-Nancy, France; ∥Laboratoires Crinex, Montrouge, France

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Edgard E. Delvin, Département de Biochimie Clinique, Hôpital Ste-Justine, 3175 Côte Ste-Catherine, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3T 1C5 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.