Antacid Use Linked to Infant Rickets

Long-term use of over-the-counter antacids may, in rare cases, result in infants developing the bone disease rickets. Calcium and phosphates are the prime chemical building blocks of bones, and deficiencies of either substance can lead to the stunted, misshapen bone growth characteristic of rickets. Fortunately, advances in infant and child nutrition have nearly eliminated rickets in most developed countries.

Researchers report the case of a 10-month-old Californian boy brought in with the typical features of rickets. The infant displayed signs of a premature fusing of the skull bones. This condition can be especially serious since it does not allow the developing brain the room it needs to grow.

After ruling out various alternative causes, the physicians determined that the infant's condition was the result of 8 months of treatment with an over-the-counter antacid.

His parents had added about 1 teaspoon of the product to each bottle of the infant's soy-based formula in an effort to quell the gastrointestinal manifestations of colic. Blood tests revealed that the boy had abnormally low levels of circulating phosphates. The researchers explain that the aluminum in some antacids binds with intestinal phosphates. Phosphate remains trapped in the gastrointestinal tract and does not reach the bones. Phosphate depletion was diagnosed and the antacid therapy was promptly discontinued.

Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine December 1998;152:1168-1169, 1243-1245.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

This is a VERY sad case. It can be used to illustrate some very good points though. Don’t ever forget what the FOURTH leading cause of death is in this country. Drugs that physicians prescribe. They directly kill 150,000 people every year. Their ignorance contributes to millions of other complications every year and this is one of them. No one ever treated this infant’s initial problem.

The child was not breast fed and was reacting to milk based formula by having symptoms of colic. The treatment was to but the child on soy formula. Folks there is NO REASON TO EVER USE SOY FORMULA!!! This product should be banned and never used.

This article does not mention that the soy formula was also part of the problem as it has 1000% more aluminum than milk based formulas. Of course, the first choice for infant nutrition is breast milk whenever possible, anything else is a far distant second choice. The next step would be Carnation Good Start.

This product is better as the milk is hydrolyzed and far less likely to cause the typical milk based formula food allergy reactions. If this does not work then one should contact a specialist in Environmental Medicine or consider the more costly formulas like Nutramagen. However, it is better to prepare one’s own formula and certainly more cost-effective.

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