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, the 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.
Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
- Neonatal vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of mortality and morbidity in term neonates in developing countries
- Vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of morbidity and mortality in infants six months of age or less
Related systematic reviews
Neonatal vitamin A supplementation and infant survival
Vitamin A supplementation and neonatal mortality in the developing world: a meta-regression of cluster-randomized trials
Neonatal vitamin A supplementation for prevention of mortality and morbidity in infancy: systematic review of randomised controlled trials