A Guide to Vitamin D3 Dosage for Infants in ml

Mar 21, 2024 | infant, pregnancy, Vitamin D, Vitamin D receptor sensitivity

As a mom, ensuring your infant gets the right nutrients for healthy growth and development is a top priority. One crucial nutrient that often raises questions is vitamin D3.

This is so profoundly important and this quote from a 2019 study from Dr. Enfonte sums it up perfectly: “Vitamin D deficiency should be promptly diagnosed and treated during the first year of life.”

But there is ONE BIG PROBLEM no one is using vitamin D and treating it optimally during the first year of life. As this same study from Dr. Enfonte in 2019 so beautifully summarizes “No one is checking vitamin D levels or getting them optimal.” Thank you Dr. Enfonte and your team for so eloquently stating the importance but also the lack of this information being used to help new parents and their children.

So kudos to you for being here and being curious about vitamin D for infants!  Please share this blog with medical practitioners and new parents you know.

In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits of vitamin D for infants, the recommended vitamin D3 dosage for infants in ml vs IU, and how to prevent low vitamin D in infants. We’ll also explore the scientific evidence supporting vitamin D3 supplementation for you and your baby’s health. Links to the scientific studies can be found at the end of this blog.


Vitamin D3 Deficiency in Infants: Causes and Consequences

A 2022 study in Nutrients, showed profound Vitamin D deficiencies have been found in newborns around the world. Infants are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to factors such as limited sun exposure, exclusive breastfeeding without supplementation, maternal low vitamin D levels, darker skin pigmentation, and premature birth. Truly humans have become extremely bad at making vitamin D from sun exposure for a variety of reasons.  Lifeguards in San Diego have vitamin D levels in the mid-40s about 30 to 40 points lower than ideal.  Even though they may have great tans and wear bathing suits all day long and live as far south as San Diego.

“Low vitamin D in infants can lead to several health issues. The most alarming is the data in the 2019 study from Dr. Enfonte that shows lower vitamin D levels correspond to an increase in the viral infections that create Type 1 Diabetes.”

The 2022 study in Nutrients showed Vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). Vitamin D deficiency is closely linked to severe bronchiolitis  and the need for ICU admission in infants. Bronchiolitis is a common viral lung infection that affects infants and young children. It causes inflammation and mucus buildup in the small airways (bronchioles), leading to breathing difficulties and in more severe cases the need for ICU admission.
These types of lung infections (RSV and Bronchiolitis) and the disruption of the stress hormone cortisol created by ICU admission, have been shown to  increase the risk of Type 1 Diabetes.
In addition to higher susceptibility to infections, low vitamin D in infants may include rickets, poor growth and muscle weakness.

A study by Morales et al. (2012) in Spain also found an association between lower maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy and delayed mental and psychomotor development in infants at 14 months of age.

In the 2022 study in Nutrients, the data demonstrated that:

  • Prenatal Vitamin D status plays a role in the offspring’s susceptibility to develop asthma later in life
  • Vitamin D deficiency during a mother’s pregnancy is also a risk factor for multiple sclerosis in adult life because it influences early brain development, playing a relevant role in neuronal differentiation and synaptic functions.
  • Lower Vitamin D levels increase the risk of preterm birth (PB), low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA).

All these increase the risk of type 1 diabetes, along with autoimmune and chronic disease throughout life.

But don’t fret, if you didn’t know this information during pregnancy, you can always make up for lost time by making changes at any stage of childhood. Making these improvements to vitamin D during the infant years, definitely sets the system in a great place early on that will reap lifelong benefits.

The Difference between Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is superior in nourishing you and your infant. Why? Because it mirrors what your bodies naturally produce from the sun’s UV rays.

Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is derived from plant sources and is often found in fortified foods like milk and cereals. On the other hand, vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the form of vitamin D that your body naturally produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It can also be found in animal-based food sources, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and liver.

When you consume vitamin D3, it is more easily absorbed and utilized by your body compared to vitamin D2. While both vitamin D2 and D3 can help raise your body’s vitamin D levels, studies have shown that vitamin D3 is more effective at maintaining those levels over a longer period. A study by Tripkovic et al. (2012) found that vitamin D3 was 87% more potent in raising and maintaining vitamin D levels than vitamin D2.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in your baby’s overall health and development. To support your infant in receiving the optimal amount of vitamin D3 for their healthy growth and development, look no further than our innovative Liquid D3 Foundation Prime drops. Which provides 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 in just one tiny drop (0.04 ml), making it easy for you to provide your little one with the necessary dosage (more details on vitamin D3 dosage for infants in ml below)

Benefits of Vitamin D for Infants

The importance of vitamin D3 for infants cannot be overstated, as it plays a crucial role in preventing Type 1 Diabetes, supporting immune function, aiding in muscle development, strong bones and promoting overall health. Another powerful benefit of Vitamin D for infants is that it reduces the risk of autoimmunity in children even when they have increased genetic risk.

A study by Holick et al. (2006) found that widespread vitamin D supplementation in infants significantly decreased the incidence of rickets, a bone disorder caused by vitamin D deficiency, in the United States.

Other vitamin D3 benefits for infants include:

  • Building strong bones by promoting calcium absorption: A study by Hatun et al. (2005) in Turkey demonstrated that infants who received vitamin D supplementation had significantly higher bone mineral density compared to those who did not receive supplementation.
  • Supporting immune system function: A randomized controlled trial by Manaseki-Holland et al. (2010) conducted in Canada found that vitamin D supplementation in infants reduced the risk of acute respiratory (lung) infections during the first year of life.
  • Aiding in healthy muscle development and promoting proper growth: A randomized controlled trial by Kumar et al. (2011) in India found that vitamin D supplementation in low birthweight infants improved their growth and development during the first six months of life.
  • Potential long-term health benefits: A Finnish birth-cohort study by Hyppönen et al. (2001) which followed 10,366 children from birth discovered that children who regularly took the recommended dose of vitamin D3 for infants (2,000 IU/day) during the first year of life had an almost 90% lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes compared to those who received less than the recommended amount.

So powerful it’s worth stating again… 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily during their first year of life had an astounding almost 90% lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes!  That’s a huge difference compared to those who received less than the recommended amount.

It’s studies like this that inspired my line of D3 products to be called “foundation prime” because if there is one foundational vitamin that protects you and your infant in so many ways, it is Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 Dosage for Infants in ml vs. IU (international units)

Liquid Vitamin D3 Foundation Prime - Dr David Bilstrom Autoimmune Functional Medicine Doctor

The Importance of Nutraceutical-Grade Vitamin D3 for Infants

When choosing vitamin D supplements for your infant, it is crucial to select nutraceutical-grade supplements. Unlike over-the-counter products, which may have inconsistent purity and content, nutracetical-grade supplements are independently tested to ensure they contain exactly what is listed on the label.

Nutraceutical-grade supplements are held to a higher standard, similar to pharmaceutical products, ensuring that you provide your infant with the best quality and most effective vitamin D supplementation to maximize the vitamin D3 benefits for infants.

All of the products offered in my online store, including the Liquid D3 Foundation Prime are nutraceutical quality.  Look for the cGMP seal on every one.

The Importance of Mom’s Vitamin D While Breastfeeding

Human breast milk typically contains low levels of vitamin D, often insufficient to meet the needs of exclusively breastfed infants.

Maternal vitamin D supplementation not only benefits the mother’s health but also ensures that the infant receives increased vitamin D for proper growth and development, thus providing essential vitamin D3 benefits for infants.

What’s more important than how much vitamin D you are taking, it’s about what are the levels in your blood.  If you are taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day of a nutraceutical grade vitamin D but still find that your lab work shows your levels are less than the optimal range of 70 to 90.  You will want to increase your daily vitamin D intake.

You can think of this like taking a medicine because your blood pressure is too high. Would it make sense to assume your blood pressure is well controlled, simply by the dose of your medicine. It makes more sense to check your blood pressure to know if your dose of medicine is right for you.

The Role of Mom’s Vitamin D Receptors

Vitamin D receptors play a crucial role in the utilization of vitamin D in the body. Every cell in the body has vitamin D receptors. Science tells us that there are more vitamin D receptors in the gut than anywhere else in the body.  This is another reason why the gut is the #1 out of our 7 central mechanisms.  When there is optimal vitamin D to attach to vitamin D receptors, there is a cascade of benefits including turning off the genes that will predispose your infant to so many health issues that you want to avoid.

Vitamin D binds to the vitamin D receptor (VDR). The VDR then releases a protein called VDRE (vitamin D responsive element) which goes to all the genes that cause the genetic risk for type 1 diabetes and the ones that cause the genetic risk for autism (and hundreds of other genes), and turns them all off!!! These are examples of the many “vitamin D responsive genes.”

This is where you would hear me say “it’s not what genes you have, it’s which ones get turned off or turned on”.  Just because your child may have genes that predispose them to chronic disease it does not mean that these genes ever need to get turned on and create disease. So many of these genes will stay turned off simply by using vitamin D at optimal levels and having healthy vitamin D receptors. This is the science of epigenetics and is a great way to prevent a host of chronic disease throughout life.

For more details checkout my blog on the importance of vitamin D receptor sensitivity.

When to Consult Your Pediatrician

If you have concerns about your infant’s vitamin D levels or notice any signs of vitamin D deficiency, which is really ANY HEALTH PROBLEM, consult your pediatrician. They can assess your baby’s vitamin D levels and provide personalized recommendations for the proper dose of vitamin D3.  Be sure to print out this blog and bring it to your appointment.  You could also ask your physician to take my free online masterclass for practitioners to learn more about this science.


Numerous studies from around the world have demonstrated the benefits of vitamin D for infants such as prevention of type 1 diabetes, enhanced immune function, better growth, improved bone mineral density, and protective effects against various autoimmune and chronic diseases later in life.

By understanding the recommended vitamin D3 dosage for infants in ml vs UI, bottles that typically list the UI amounts can now be calculated properly. The importance of adequate dosing as shown in the Finnish study, the role of maternal vitamin D supplementation (and receptor sensitivity) for enriching breast milk, and ensuring sufficient intake through nutraceutical-grade supplementation, can give your baby the best start in life. Always consult with your pediatrician for personalized guidance tailored to your infant’s specific needs.

Preventing autoimmune disease is a super passion of mine, which is why I share these vitamin D studies with moms and practitioners as often as I can.  If you have autoimmune issues and want some support, please join my Autoimmune Hope community, which includes a live group Q&A session and access to all past live Q&A recordings (with timestamps to quickly jump to questions most relevant to you).  I’m so confident you’ll find value in Autoimmune Hope, that it includes a 14-day money back guarantee. You can sign up for that here: https://edu.drdavidbilstrom.com/autoimmunehope



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