e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Vitamin A supplementation in neonates

Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in many countries. In infants, vitamin A is essential to support rapid growth and to help combat infections. Babies are born with low vitamin A stores and are dependent on external sources – most importantly breast milk – to receive this vitamin, but in areas where the availability of foods rich in vitamin A is low, breast milk does not have adequate concentrations of vitamin A.

Vitamin A supplementation during the neonatal period was initially proposed as a means to increase baby’s vitamin A stores, and more recently as a strategy to improve infant survival. However, the clinical trials investigating the impact of this intervention on infant morbidity and mortality have so far provided inconsistent findings.

At this time, WHO does not recommended neonatal vitamin A supplementation as a public health intervention. As there are four ongoing trials that are expected will help clarify the efficacy and safety of this intervention, the current recommendations will be reviewed in 2013.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines


Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

25 March 2014 13:25 CET

Category 1 intervention

Guidelines have been recently approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee


Implementation of this intervention is not recommended