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Vitamin A and preterm infants: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to know


Vitamin A is essential for optimal growth and development. In the developing world, vitamin A supplementation of the newborn infant reduces mortality. In the developed world, extremely preterm infants are born with low body stores of vitamin A and are at high risk of vitamin A deficiency. Optimal vitamin A supplementation for this population is not clearly defined, however, and, despite evidence of benefit, early vitamin A supplementation of extremely preterm infants is not uniformly practised in the United Kingdom. There is an urgent need for studies in preterm infants that include quantification of hepatic stores and functional assessment of vitamin A status as well as long term outcome.

  • ELBW, extremely low birth weight
  • ERG, electroretinogram
  • RBP, retinol binding protein
  • RDR, relative dose response
  • ROP, retinopathy of prematurity
  • VLBW, very low birth weight
  • preterm infants
  • vitamin A

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