Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302377
  • Global child health

Vitamin D levels in Malawian infants from birth to 24 months

  1. Taha E Taha3
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Johns Hopkins University Research Project, Blantyre, Malawi
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Timothy Amukele, Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Meyer B-125f, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA; tamukel1{at}
  • Received 18 May 2012
  • Revised 12 November 2012
  • Accepted 15 November 2012
  • Published Online First 7 December 2012


We measured longitudinal levels of vitamin D in unsupplemented Malawian infants at 0 (birth), 2, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months of age. Matched maternal plasma and breast milk vitamin D2 and D3 levels were also measured at delivery and 2 months postpartum. Vitamin D was measured using isotope-dilution liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry. Vitamin D3 levels in children were 36% of adult levels at birth, 60% of adult levels at age 2 months, and at par with adult levels by 12 months of age. This adult-equivalent level is subsequently maintained through age 24 months and consisted of a 98% molar ratio of vitamin D3. Vitamin D levels in breast milk were below the limit of detection, 0.1 ng/ml. Breast milk of unsupplemented Malawian mothers is a poor source of vitamin D.

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