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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Jan;62(1):41-4.

Relationships among vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and vitamin D-binding protein concentrations in the plasma and milk of human subjects.


We measured plasma and milk concentrations of vitamin D2, vitamin D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 (25OHD2), 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25OHD3), and vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) in a group of lactating women. All vitamin D compounds were quantitated using competitive protein binding assay, while DBP concentrations were determined by rocket electrophoresis. Vitamin D3 was the most abundant vitamin D compound in human milk, followed by vitamin D2, 25OHD3, and, finally, 25OHD2. The average vitamin D activity in milk was between 33-68 IU/liter, depending on the criterion of biological activity used. DBP concentrations in milk were approximately 3% of those in plasma. Significant relationships were found between plasma and milk levels for all vitamin D compounds. The milk to blood concentration ratio was greatest for vitamin D2, followed by vitamin D3, 25OHD2, and 25OHD3. (Thus, the parent compounds gained access into milk in a much more efficient fashion than their 25-hydroxy metabolites. It is postulated that this differential translocation is controlled by the DBP in the circulation.) There was no significant correlation between plasma and milk DBP concentrations, nor were milk DBP concentrations related to the vitamin D content of milk. This investigation supports the concept that the nutritional status of lactating mothers affects the vitamin D sterol potential of her milk which, in turn, would likely have an effect on the vitamin D status of her nursing infant.

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