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Rev Saude Publica. 2009 Aug;43(4):572-9. Epub 2009 Jun 19.

Maternal supplementation with retinyl palmitate during immediate postpartum period: potential consumption by infants.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Bioquímica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, RN, Brasil.



To assess the effect of maternal supplementation with a single dose of retinyl palmitate during the postpartum period, in order to provide vitamin A for the infant.


A clinical trial was conducted in Natal (Northern Brazil), between March and December 2007, on 85 women distributed randomly into two groups. The postpartum supplements of retinyl palmitate consisted of a single dose of 200,000 IU (experimental group) and zero IU (control group). The retinol levels in milk were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography. Based on the retinol concentrations obtained in breast milk and through simulations, vitamin A consumption among infants 24 hours and 30 days postpartum was calculated.


The daily provision of retinol to newborns through colostrum, 24 hours postpartum, was 1.63 micromol for the controls and 2.9 micromol for the experimental group, taking adequate intake to be 1.40 micromol/day and the milk volume consumed to be 500 ml/day. Thirty days postpartum, these values were 0.64 micromol/day (controls) and 0.89 micromol/day (experimental group), corresponding to a 39% increase in retinol concentration in the experimental group, in relation to the control group, or 64% of the recommendation for infants aged zero to six months.


Maternal supplementation with 200,000 IU of retinyl palmitate during the immediate post-partum period, and promotion of breastfeeding practices, are efficient for increasing the nutritional status of vitamin A for the mother-child pair.

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