Vitamin D Supplementation Safe for Children

May 30, 2008

Vitamin D supplementation to children and adolescents at the equivalent of 2,000 IU/day is safe for as long as a year and increases serum vitamin D to desirable levels, according to study results released online April 29 in advance of publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

FRIDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D supplementation to children and adolescents at the equivalent of 2,000 IU/day is safe for as long as a year and increases serum vitamin D to desirable levels, according to study results released online April 29 in advance of publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Joyce Maalouf, from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and colleagues randomly assigned 25 schoolchildren to placebo or 14,000 IU vitamin D3 per week for eight weeks as part of a short-term safety study, and randomly assigned 340 schoolchildren to vitamin D3 (1,400 IU or 14,000 IU per week) or placebo for one year as part of a long-term safety study. The children were 10 to 17 years old.

In both studies, the researchers found no changes in mean serum calcium and 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. In the short-term study, there was a significant increase in mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in children receiving vitamin D3 (44 to 54 ng/mL). In the long-term study, mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels significantly increased from 15 to 19 ng/mL in the 1,400 IU per week group and from 15 to 36 ng/mL in the 14,000 IU per week group. Vitamin D intoxication did not occur.

"Supplementation of children and adolescents with 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 is well tolerated and safe. This is particularly relevant in view of the increasingly recognized musculoskeletal benefits of vitamin D not only in the adult but also in the pediatric age group," Maalouf and colleagues conclude.

The study was supported in large part by grants from the Nestle Foundation and Merck KgaA, and two authors disclosed financial ties to Merck and other pharmaceutical companies.

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