Iron Depletion and Anemia Caused by Dairy
- Iron Depletion and Anemia Caused by Dairy
I met a family in Toronto this past weekend whose
toddler was severely anemic. I was told that this little
boy drinks one-half gallon of milk each day, and his
favorite food is cheese. The little boy was in a stroller.
He was obese. Mucus was flowing from his nose. I promised
to send the mother research linking cow's milk consumption
to iron loss and low hemoglobin counts.
Last evening I found an interesting study that was published
in the October, 2002 issue of American Family Physician
(66,7,:1217-240). The author, L.A. Kazal, M.D. wrote:
"...iron deficiency anemia in infants and toddlers is
associated with long-lasting diminished mental, motor, and
behavioral functioning. Additionally, the prevalence of iron
deficiency anemia in one- to three-year-old children seems to
Dr. Kazal's recommendation:
"...intervention should focus on the primary prevention of
iron deficiency. In the first year of life, measures to prevent
iron deficiency include completely avoiding cow's milk."
In the second year of life, iron deficiency can be prevented
by use of a diversified diet that is rich in sources of iron
and vitamin C, limiting cow's milk consumption..."
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. Red
blood cells have a life of about four months, and lack of
iron leads to an inability to manufacture new cells.
Hundreds of ailments can result from too-little iron, and
milk consumption has been shown to cause intestinal
bleeding, which ultimately results in lowering one's
hemoglobin count. The result: weakness, depression,
irritability. The cure: Notmilk.
The May, 1995 issue of the Townsend Medical Letter reported
that cow's milk causes hemoglobin loss.
In 1990, the Journal of Pediatrics (Vol. 116) reported:
"Cow's milk can cause blood loss from the intestinal tract,
which over time, reduces the body's iron stores. Blood loss
may be a reaction to cow's milk proteins."
Eight years earlier, Pediatrics (1982; 89 ) reported:
"Babies who are fed whole cow's milk during the second six
months of life may experience a 30% increase in intestinal
blood loss and a significant loss of iron in their stools."
Here's the good news, as reported in the October, 1999 issue
of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery:
"Cow's milk-induced intestinal bleeding is a well-recognized
cause of rectal bleeding in infancy. In all cases, bleeding
resolved completely after instituting a cow's milk-free
Here's a better cure:
Soymilk contains eleven times the amount of iron as does
cow's milk. A 100-gram portion (3.5 ounces) of cow's milk
contains 0.05 mg. of iron. The equivalent portion of soymilk
contains 0.58 mg. of iron.