Excess Milk Leads to Low Iron Levels in Children

milkWhile higher consumption of milk was linked with higher levels of vitamin D in children, it is also associated with a decrease in iron levels, an observational study showed. 

Each cup of milk consumed was associated with a 6.5% increase in vitamin D and 3.6% decrease in iron, on average, in the 1311 participants involved in the study. The analysis suggested that 2 cups a day maintained healthy vitamin D levels without lowering iron levels severely. 

These results fit with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which list  2 cups of cow’s milk a day is the optimal amount that children age 2 years to 6 years should consume. 

“However, children with darker skin pigmentation who were not receiving vitamin D supplementation required 3 to 4 glasses of milk a day to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.”

“There is a trade-off between increasing 25-hydroxyvitamin D and decreasing serum ferritin with increasing milk intake,” researchers concluded. “Two cups of cow’s milk per day appears sufficient to maintain healthy vitamin D and iron stores for most children.  Wintertime vitamin D supplementation was particularly important among children with darker skin pigmentation.”

-Michael Potts


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