A new study shows a possible correlation between childhood milk allergies to weaker bones as an adult. This allergy is the most common food allergy among children in the United States, affecting 3% of children. The main form of treatment is avoidance of not only cow’s milk but also dairy products as a whole, which is problematic because such products are a major source of calcium.
The study found low bone density in 6% of children in a 52 child study who suffered from a long-term allergy to milk. Study author and associate professor at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center at the University of Montreal, Genevieve Mailhot said children who have not yet reached puberty who have a consistent milk allergy not only have lower bone mineral density but also do not ingest as much calcium as children who have other types of food allergies. While the studies do not show a direct link between the allergy and density issues and the density differences are not severe enough to lead to fractures, the information should remain noted.
About 87% of those allergic to milk outgrow their allergy by the age of 3. Mailhot suggests parents find other ways to give their children the calcium their bodies crave. Soy or rice milk are great resources. Vitamin D intake is also very important. She recommends trying orange juice that has been fortified with calcium and to ask your doctor about having a bone density scan done to watch your child’s bone health.
Since research shows children who do not reach what is known as “peak” bone mass have a much higher risk of getting osteoporosis later in life, the study authors suggest taking their findings into consideration. The study was published in the Pediatrics Journal on April 20th, 2016 on the web.