Children who drink non-cow’s milk – such as almond, soy, rice and goat’s milk – could have lower blood levels of vitamin D compared to those who drink cow’s milk, a new study has suggested.
For the study, researchers recruited 3,821 healthy children between the ages of one and six who were a part of a research network known as TARGet Kids! The network collected data from seven pediatric or family medicine private practices in Toronto, Canada, and examined participants blood levels of vitamin D to the types of milk they drank.
Findings revealed that about 87 percent of the sample drank cow’s milk, while 13 percent drank non-cow’s milk. Furthermore, researchers found that that children who drank only non-cow’s milk were twice as likely to be deficient in vitamin D when compared to those who only drank cow’s milk.
The researchers discovered that children who drank only non-cow’s milk were two times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D when compared to children who drank only cow’s milk. In this non-cow’s milk group of children, every cup of non-cow’s milk was linked to a five percent drop in their vitamin D levels per month.
“It is difficult for consumers to tell how much vitamin D is in non-cow’s milk,” said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher with St. Michael’s Hospital, in a news release. “Caregivers need to be aware of the amount of vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients in alternative milk beverages so they can make informed choices for their children. Our findings may also be helpful to health care providers working with children who regularly consume non-cow’s milk due to cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance or dietary preference.”