Background: Iron deficiency (ID) and vitamin D deficiency (VDD) are common among young European children because of low dietary intakes and low compliance to vitamin D supplementation policies. Milk is a common drink for young European children. Studies evaluating the effect of milk fortification on iron and vitamin D status in these children are scarce. Objective: We aimed to investigate the effect of a micronutrient-fortified young-child formula (YCF) on the iron and vitamin D status of young European children. Design: In this randomized, double-blind controlled trial, healthy German, Dutch, and English children aged 1–3 y were allocated to receive either YCF (1.2 mg Fe/100 mL; 1.7 μg vitamin D/100 mL) or nonfortified cow milk (CM) (0.02 mg Fe/100 mL; no vitamin D) for 20 wk. Blood samples were taken before and after the intervention. The primary and secondary outcomes were change from baseline in serum ferritin (SF) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], respectively. ID was defined as SF <12 μg/L in the absence of infection (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein <10 mg/L) and VDD as 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L. Statistical adjustments were made in intention-to-treat analyses for sex, country, age, baseline micronutrient status, and micronutrient intake from food and supplements (and sun exposure in the case of vitamin D outcomes). Results: The study sample consisted of 318 predominantly Caucasian (∼95%) children. The difference in the SF and 25(OH)D change between the treatment groups was 6.6 μg/L (95% CI: 1.4, 11.7 μg/L; P = 0.013) and 16.4 nmol/L (95% CI: 9.5, 21.4 nmol/L; P < 0.001), respectively. The probability of ID (OR 0.42; 95% CI:0.18, 0.95; P = 0.036) and VDD (OR 0.22; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.51; P < 0.001) after the intervention was lower in the YCF group than in the CM group. Conclusion: Micronutrient-fortified YCF use for 20 wk preserves iron status and improves vitamin D status in healthy young children in Western Europe. This trial was registered at www.trialregister.nl as NTR3609.
Akkermans, M. D., Eussen, S., van der Horst, J., Van Elburg, R. M., van Goudoever, J. B., & Brus, F. (2017). A micronutrient-fortified young-child formula improves the iron and vitamin D status of healthy young European children: a randomized, double-blind controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(2), 391-399. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.136143