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Nutr Hosp. 2012 Mar-Apr;27(2):341-8. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112012000200003.

[Enteral nutrition in neurological patients: is there enough vitamin D content in commonly used formulas?].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio de Endocrinología y Nutrición, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete, Albacete, España.



Vitamin D deficiency produces inadequate bone mineralization, proximal muscle weakness, abnormal gait and increased risk of falls and fractures. Moreover, in epidemiological studies, has been associated with increased risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases, type 1 and 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases and depression. When synthesis through the skin by sun exposure is not possible and the patient can not eat by mouth, as in the advanced stages of various neurological diseases, the supply of vitamin D has to be done by enteral nutrition.


The aim of this study is to review the role of vitamin D in a common group of neurological conditions that often require artificial nutrition and analyze whether the vitamin D of different enteral nutrition formulas is adequate to meet the needs of this group of patients.


Numerous studies have shown the association between vitamin D deficiency and increased incidence of dementia, stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases. Interventions aimed to increase levels of vit. D and its effects on functional (falls, pain, quality of life) and cardiovascular goals (cardiovascular death, stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular risk factors) have obtained as highlight data a clear reduction of falls and fractures, while the evidence for the other parameters studied is still limited and inconsistent. The content of calcium and vitamin D of enteral formulas is legislated in our country. The total amount of vitamin D for a daily intake of 1,500-2,000 kcal ranges between 300 and 1,600 IU/d (mean ± SD: 32.9 ± 8.5 mg/100 kcal) in the complete formulas for enteral nutrition most commonly used. 50% of the diets studied, for an intake of 2,000 kcal/d, and 90% for an intake of 1,500 kcal/d, provide less than 600 IU/d of vitamin D.


Some revised recently guidelines published recommendations of daily intake of vitamin D. The document published by the U.S. Institute of Medicine recommended for adults between 19 and 70 years, 600 IU/d and up from 70, proposes 800 IU/d of vitamin D. These amounts are deemed insufficient by other scientific societies to state that to achieve blood levels of 25 (OH) D equal or greater than 30 ng/ml may be required a daily intake of 1,500-2,000 IU and a number two or three times higher if previous deficiency exists.


Further controlled studies are needed to ascertain which is the appropriate dose of vitamin D in advanced stages of neurological disease, where sun exposure is difficult and unlikely. We suggest that the vitamin D content should probably be reconsidered in enteral nutrition formulas, which, in light of recent publications appear as clearly insufficient for standard energy intakes (1,500-2,000 kcal).

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