Maternal circulating vitamin status and colostrum vitamin composition in healthy lactating women—A systematic approach

Jasmijn Y. de Vries, Shikha Pundir*, Elizabeth McKenzie, Jaap Keijer, Martin Kussmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Colostrum is the first ingested sole nutritional source for the newborn infant. The vitamin profile of colostrum depends on the maternal vitamin status, which in turn is influenced by diet and lifestyle. Yet, the relationship between maternal vitamin status and colostrum vitamin composition has not been systematically reviewed. This review was conducted with the aim to generate a comprehensive overview on the relationship between maternal serum (plasma) vitamin concentration and corresponding colostrum composition. Three electronic databases, Embase (Ovid), Medline (Ovid), and Cochrane, were systematically searched based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Finally, a total of 11 eligible publications were included that examined the vitamins A, C, D, E, and K in both biological fluids. Maternal vitamin A, D, E, and K blood levels were unrelated to colostrum content of the respective vitamins, and serum vitamin A was inversely correlated with colostrum vitamin E. Colostrum versus maternal serum vitamins were higher for vitamins A, C, and K, lower for vitamin D, and divergent results were reported for vitamin E levels. Colostrum appears typically enriched in vitamin A, C, and K compared to maternal serum, possibly indicative of active mammary gland transport mechanisms. Inter-individual and inter-study high variability in colostrum’s vitamin content endorses its sensitivity to external factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number687
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Colostrum
  • Human milk
  • Infant
  • Plasma
  • Vitamins


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