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Seasonal variation in vitamin D status of Japanese infants starts to emerge at 2 months of age: a retrospective cohort study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 August 2022

Keigo Takahashi
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Saitama City Hospital, Saitama, Japan
Takeshi Arimitsu
Department of Pediatrics, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Kaori Hara-Isono
Department of Pediatrics, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Kazushige Ikeda*
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Saitama City Hospital, Saitama, Japan
*Corresponding author: Dr K. Ikeda, fax +81 48 873 7982, email


Vitamin D seasonality has been reported in adults and children, suggesting that sunlight exposure has effects on 25(OH)D production. While vitamin D deficiency among infants has received significant attention, little is known about the extent to which vitamin D status during early infancy is affected by sunlight exposure. Here, we retrospectively analysed serum 25(OH)D levels of 692 samples obtained from healthy infants aged 1–2 months born at Saitama City Hospital, Japan (latitude 35·9° North) between August 2017 and September 2021. Data regarding the frequency of outdoor activities, formula intake and BMI were also collected and analysed. Month-to-month comparisons of vitamin D levels revealed significant variation in 25(OH)D levels in breastfed infants starting at 2 months, with maximal and minimal levels in September and January, respectively. An outdoor activity score of 0 was most common at 1 month (83·9 %) and a score of 3 was most common at 2 months (81·2 %), suggesting an increased amount of sunlight exposure at 2 months. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed the amount of formula intake to be significantly associated with vitamin D status at both 1 (t = 17·96) and 2 months (t = 16·30). Our results comprise the first evidence that seasonal variation of vitamin D begins at 2 months among breastfed infants from East Asia, though dietary intake appears to be the major determinant of vitamin D status. These findings provide new insights into the influence of dietary and non-dietary factors on vitamin D status during early infancy.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

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