Diet that severely lacks vitamin C can lead to bone loss and fractures.
Babies who only fed on almond milk are likely to develop scurvy, a disease which occurs if a person’s diet severely lacks vitamin C.
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In a latest result published in journal Pediatrics, researchers have reported the case of an 11-month old Spanish infant who was tired and irritable, losing weight and cried if someone tried to move his legs. He had all the typical signs associated to scurvy and researchers believed that the reason was he only consuming almond milk - a diet deprived of Vitamin C.
Scurvy is a rare disease, especially when it comes to developed countries. But the risk has increased since more and more kids are now consuming only plant-based beverages which do not contain sufficient amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for making collagen, a main structural protein that is commonly found in the skin, bones and connective tissues in the body.
The 11-month old infant who was diagnosed with scurvy, started to consume vitamin C at a dose of 300 mg per day. Signs of improvement appeared over the next three months when his overall condition improved, pain in the legs and thigh bone fractures reduced, his vitamin C level normalized and the child started walking as well.
“This case represents scurvy as a new and severe complication of improper use of almond beverage in the first year of life.” Authors write.
“Plant-based beverages are not a complete food and they may not replace breastfeeding or infant formula.”
Scurvy is mostly considered a historical disease and commonly sailors developed scurvy in 15th to 18th centuries because of the lack of proper food and the deficiency of vitamin C. The disease is rarely seen in infants since generally they are eating foods rich of vitamin C and other vital nutrients.
“Rarely serious deficiencies can occur when typical recommendations are avoided. For an infant in the first year of life, a diet deficient in calcium, vitamin D and scurvy…that’s very concerning.” Dr. Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian and associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine told ABC News.
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“Before you change a child’s diet, it needs to be changed to a nutritionally adequate diet. This is too critical a period.”