Objective: To determine vitamin A and vitamin E status in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants at the time of birth (TB), at the time of full feeding (TFF) and at term postmenstrual age (TT).Study

Design: An observational study was conducted in VLBW infants. Plasma retinol and α-tocopherol levels were measured at TB, TFF and TT. Multivitamin supplementation was given to all infants to meet the daily requirement.

Result: A total of 35 infants were enrolled. The median (interquartile range) of gestational age and birth weight was 30 (28 to 32) weeks and 1157 g (982 to 1406 g). The median of vitamin A and vitamin E intakes from TFF to TT was 832 and 5.5 IU kg(-1) day(-1), respectively. Vitamin A deficiency occurred in 67.7% at birth, 51.6% at TFF and 82.1% at TT. Vitamin E deficiency occurred in 77.4% at birth, 16.1% at TFF and 35.7% at TT. Small-for-gestational age was the only risk factor for vitamin A deficiency. Lower amount of breast milk consumption was associated with higher incidence of vitamin E deficiency. No differences in vitamin A- or vitamin E-related morbidities between infants with and without vitamin deficiencies were found.

Conclusion: High prevalence of vitamin A and vitamin E deficiency was found in VLBW infants starting from birth to term postmenstrual age. Therefore, a higher dose of vitamin supplementation is required.