Randomized trial of fortified milk and supplements to raise 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in schoolchildren in Mongolia.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun 22.
Rich-Edwards JW, Ganmaa D, Kleinman K, Sumberzul N, Holick MF, Lkhagvasuren T, Dulguun B, Burke A, Frazier AL.
Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
The optimal public health strategy for maintaining 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25(OH)D concentrations in schoolchildren in Mongolia is unknown.
The objective was to compare the effectiveness of different supplement and fortified milk regimens to increase 25(OH)D concentrations in Mongolian schoolchildren.
Twenty-one classrooms of 579 children aged 9-11 y were randomized to interventions with an equivalent content of vitamin D(3): 1) a one-time seasonal supplement of 13,700 IU, 2) 300 IU/d from supplements, 3) 300 IU/d from fortified ultra-high-temperature pasteurized milk from the United States, 4) 300 IU/d from fortified pasteurized Mongolian milk, or 5) unfortified pasteurized Mongolian milk (control).
In January, the mean (± SD) serum 25(OH)D concentration was 8 ± 4 ng/mL (20 ± 10 nmol/L), and 98% of the children had a concentration <20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). In March, concentrations were 8 ± 4 ng/mL after unfortified milk, 20 ± 6 ng/mL after fortified Mongolian milk, 29 ± 10 ng/mL after fortified US milk, 21 ± 6 ng/mL after daily supplements, and 12 ± 4 ng/mL after seasonal supplements (each greater than unfortified milk, P < 0.01). Seasonal supplementation was less effective than was daily supplementation (P < 0.0001). Despite consuming daily supplements or fortified milk, 41% of the children still had concentrations <20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Children with lower baseline 25(OH)D concentrations experienced slightly larger 25(OH)D responses to intervention than did children with higher concentrations (P = 0.002).
In this population with extremely low vitamin D concentrations, delivery of 300 IU vitamin D/d via supplements or in fortified milk improved 25(OH)D concentrations but failed to raise concentrations uniformly to >20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). The daily low-dose intervention was superior to the seasonal larger-dose intervention. Higher doses may be needed to prevent deficiency in schoolchildren in Mongolia and at other northern latitudes. This trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00886379.