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05.02.2019 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 1/2020

European Journal of Nutrition 1/2020

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D response to vitamin D supplementation in infants: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical intervention trials

European Journal of Nutrition > Ausgabe 1/2020
Armin Zittermann, Stefan Pilz, Heiner K. Berthold
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00394-019-01912-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



For the prevention of nutritional rickets, 400 IU vitamin D daily and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentrations > 50 nmol/L are recommended, whereas the toxicity threshold is set at 250 nmol/L. We synthesized the evidence for the effect of vitamin D supplementation on incremental 25OHD in infants up to 1 year of age.


We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention trials in several databases. A total of 87 records were identified for full-text review and 27 articles with 61 studies were included in the final analysis.


The selected 61 studies included 1828 participants. Nineteen cohorts had already mean baseline 25OHD levels ≥ 50 nmol/L. The weighted mean difference in 25OHD following vitamin D supplementation was + 49.4 nmol/L (95% CI 43.6–55.3 nmol/L; P < 0.001). The increment was dose-dependent (P = 0.002), was higher in full-term than in pre-term infants (P < 0.001), was higher in infants with baseline 25OHD < 50 nmol/L as compared to ≥ 50 nmol/L (P = 0.001), and was marginally influenced by the 25OHD test procedure (P = 0.080). Vitamin D3 doses of 400 IU/day were sufficient to achieve 25OHD concentrations ≥ 50 nmol/L in most full-term infants. A 25OHD level of 250 nmol/L was not exceeded in ≥ 97.5% of infants at doses between 200 and 1200 IU/day, but potentially in ≥ 2.5% of infants at a dose of 1600 IU/day.


Vitamin D supplementation of 400 IU/day is sufficient for achieving 25OHD concentrations able to prevent nutritional rickets. A more personalized vitamin D dosing strategy would require 25OHD testing, but also assay standardization.

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