New York, Oct 14: Higher dosage of Vitamin D in premature and preterm infants may prevent them from rickets, researchers suggested. Rickets is a disease that leads to softening and weakening of bones in children due to Vitamin D deficiency. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, all babies must receive routine vitamin D supplementation of 400 international units (IUs) per day. However, raising the standard supplementation of 400 IUs of vitamin D to 800 IUs daily would reduce the risk of low bone density in premature babies, said researchers from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, US.
In the study, published in the journal Plos One, the team evaluated two groups of premature infants -- with doses of 400 and 800 IU per day of vitamin D -- born between 24 to 32 weeks gestation for over four weeks. Premature infants with additional dosage of 800 IUs per day showed improvement in growth of bone density, compared to those administered with 400 IUs per day. They also saw improvement in growth that significantly decreased the risk of infants having very low bone density. "We are hopeful that neonatologists will consider giving pre-term infants 800 IUs," said Ann Anderson Berry, Associate Professor at the varsity. "We know that even with standard vitamin D dosing, we were still seeing a fair number of preterm infants who suffered from impaired bone health, yet this is another form of neonatal intensive care units therapy that can help decreasing that risk," Berry added.