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Prenatal Vitamin D (35,000 weekly, 3rd trimester) resulted in 1 cm taller infants at age 1 year – RCT Aug 2013

Maternal Vitamin D3 Supplementation during the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: Effects on Infant Growth in a Longitudinal Follow-Up Study in Bangladesh.

J Pediatr. 2013 Aug 30. pii: S0022-3476(13)00938-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.07.030
Roth DE, Perumal N, Al Mahmud A, Baqui AH.
Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effects of prenatal vitamin D supplementation on infant growth in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal follow-up of infants born at term or late preterm (≥34 weeks) to participants in a randomized double-blind trial of maternal third-trimester vitamin D3 (35 000 IU/wk; vitamin D ) vs placebo. Anthropometry was performed at birth, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. The primary analysis (n = 145 overall; n = 134 at 1 year) was a comparison of mean length-for-age z-score (LAZ) based on World Health Organization standards.

RESULTS: LAZ was similar between groups at birth, but 0.44 (95% CI, 0.06-0.82) higher in vitamin D vs placebo at 1 year, corresponding to a sex-adjusted increase of 1.1 cm (95% CI, 0.06-2.0).
Mean change in LAZ from birth to 1 month was significantly greater in vitamin D (0.53 per month) vs placebo (0.19 per month; P = .004); but there was no significant divergence thereafter.
In longitudinal (repeated-measures) analysis, average LAZ during infancy was 0.41 higher in vitamin D vs placebo (95% CI, 0.11-0.71, P = .01).
Stunting was less common in vitamin D (17% of infants were ever stunted) vs placebo (31%; P = .049).
Other anthropometric indices were similar between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Maternal vitamin D3 supplementation (35 000 IU/wk) during the third trimester of pregnancy enhanced early postnatal linear growth in a cohort of infants in Bangladesh.

PMID: 23998516

There would have been much more growth if

  1. Had used a loading dose initially to restore vitamin D levels: suggest >300,000 IU over a month
    The 35,000 IU per month used by the study may not have even restored vitamin D levels after 3 months
  2. Had started the prenatal dose earlier
  3. Had continued the vitamin D dose after birth (breast milk has very little vitamin D)

See also VitaminDWiki