Children with cow’s milk allergy have significantly lower calcium intake and bone mineral density (BMD) scores compared with children without this allergy, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

The study included 52 children with cow’s milk allergy and 29 children with non-cow’s milk allergies to serve as a control group. The researchers measured BMD using dual energy radiograph absorptiometry and measured vitamin D levels using plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Participants’ intake of calcium and vitamin D was recorded, in addition to their compliance to calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Children with cow’s milk allergy had significantly lower lumbar spine BMD z scores compared with controls. While none of the control participants had low bone mass, it was detected in 6% of the participants with cow’s milk allergy. Children with cow’s milk allergy had significantly lower calcium intake compared with controls, but vitamin D intake was not reduced.

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Fewer than half of the children with cow’s milk allergy reported taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Among those who did, however, the adherence rates were high (mean compliance rate: 5.5 days per week).

“These prepubertal children with persistent [cow’s milk allergy] had lower lumbar spine BMD z scores than children with [non-cow’s milk allergies], which likely resulted from lower calcium intake,” wrote the researchers.


  1. Mailhot G, Perrone V, Alos N, et al. Cow’s milk allergy and bone mineral density in prepubertal children. Pediatrics. Published online ahead of print April 18, 2016.