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June 1986

Race, Breast Milk, and Vitamin D

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pediatrics and Hematology Hacettepe University Ankara, Turkey

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(6):506. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140200016013

Sir.—I read with great interest the article by Specker et al.1 They have shown that despite very low vitamin D levels in the breast milk of black mothers (3.6 pg/mL), as compared with those of white mothers (22.3 pg/mL), 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels were nearly the same in both groups (black mothers, 30.6 pg/mL; white mothers, 41 pg/mL). However, mean serum 25-OHD concentrations of black infants (20 ±6 pg/mL) and white infants (34 ±5 pg/mL) did not indicate vitamin D deficiency despite their diets not being supplemented with vitamins.

Normal 25-OHD levels, especially of black infants, might suggest that the absorption of vitamin D and specifically that of 25-OHD in breast milk should be studied. If it is shown that absorption of 25-OHD in breast milk is much better than that in formula, as in the case of iron in breast milk, the protective effect of it from