Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effects of ethnicity and vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status and changes in bone mineral content in infants

Steven A Abrams1*, Keli M Hawthorne1, Stefanie P Rogers1, Penni D Hicks1 and Thomas O Carpenter2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas 77030, USA

2 Departments of Pediatrics (Endocrinology) and Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-6

Published: 16 January 2012



To evaluate the effects on serum 25(OH)D and bone mineralization of supplementation of breast-fed Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasian infants with vitamin D in infants in Houston, Texas.


We measured cord serum 25(OH)D levels, bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD) and their changes over 3 months of life with 400 IU/day of vitamin D3 supplementation.


Cord serum 25(OH)D was significantly lower in Hispanic than non-Hispanic Caucasian infants (16.4 ± 6.5 ng/mL, n = 27, vs 22.3 ± 9.4 n = 22, p = 0.013). Among 38 infants who completed a 3 month vitamin D supplementation intervention, provision of 400 IU/day of vitamin D increased final 25(OH)D to a higher level in non-Hispanic Caucasian compared to Hispanic infants. There was no significant relationship between cord serum 25(OH)D and BMC or BMD in the first week of life (n = 49) or after 3 months of vitamin D supplementation.


Low cord 25(OH)D levels are seen in Hispanic infants, but their functional significance is uncertain related to bone health in a southern US setting. Daily vitamin D intake of 400 IU during the first months of life appears adequate to increase serum 25(OH)D and support BMC increases despite low initial 25(OH)D levels in some infants. NCT00697294

breastfeeding; vitamin D; bone mineral content