A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that children who drink nondairy milk rather than cow’s milk are half as likely to maintain proper vitamin D levels. This is due to the fact that while in the US and Canada, milk is required to be fortified with vitamin D, nondairy alternatives do not have the same requirement.
Nondairy milks include almond, soy or rice milk, which have risen in popularity due to the perceived health benefits of such alternatives. Often, parents will choose the nondairy option even if their children do not have milk allergies or lactose intolerance. In a statement to Reuters Health, Dr. Johnathon Maguire, pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, says,
Parents ask their child’s doctor quite frequently whether alternate milk is good for their children…And we as doctors have trouble answering that question – it depends on a lot of factors, and one of the things it depends on is whether they can maintain children’s vitamin D stores as well as cow’s milk.”
Vitamin D is known to assist the body in absorbing calcium, contributing to the strengthening of bones and teeth. Dr. Keet, of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltime recommends to parents of children who don’t drink cow’s milk to provide their children with calcium and vitamin D supplements, as well as ensure the rest of their diet is high in protein and healthy fats.
Read more here- “Milk Substitutes Might Not Give Kids Enough Vitamin D,” (Shereen Lehman, Reuters)