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Observations placeholder

Consumption of cow's milk as a cause of iron deficiency in infants and toddlers.



Type of Spiritual Experience



Unfortunately the study did not look into the nutritional deficiencies of the cow's milk itself.  There is evidence that cows fed on nutritionally poor feed, or kept in poor conditions produce milk which is nutritionally poor.  Thus the problem may not be cow's milk per se but poor farming methods, although feeding children under 1 year of age with cow's milk is seen from this paper to be problematic anyway.

A description of the experience


Nutr Rev. 2011 Nov;69 Suppl 1:S37-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00431.x. Consumption of cow's milk as a cause of iron deficiency in infants and toddlers. Ziegler EE. Fomon Infant Nutrition Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. ekhard-ziegler@uiowa.edu

Consumption of cow's milk (CM) by infants and toddlers has adverse effects on their iron stores, a finding that has been well documented in many localities. Several mechanisms have been identified that may contribute to iron deficiency in this young population group. The most important of these is probably the low iron content of CM, which makes it difficult for infants to obtain the amounts of iron needed for growth. A second mechanism is the occult intestinal blood loss associated with CM consumption during infancy, a condition that affects about 40% of otherwise healthy infants. Loss of iron in the form of blood diminishes with age and ceases after the age of 1 year. A third mechanism is the inhibition of non-heme iron absorption by calcium and casein, both of which are present in high amounts in CM.

... Consumption of CM produces a high renal solute load, which leads to a higher urine solute concentration than consumption of breast milk or formula, thereby narrowing the margin of safety during dehydrating events, such as diarrhea. The high protein intake from CM may also place infants at increased risk of obesity in later childhood. It is thus recommended that unmodified, unfortified CM not be fed to infants and that it be fed to toddlers in modest amounts only.

© 2011 International Life Sciences Institute.

PMID: 22043881

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Iron imbalance


Being a child
Dairy products