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Baby Feeding On Vegan Milk Substitute Gets Rare Case Of Scurvy

Update Date: Jan 23, 2016 04:37 PM EST

A new case of scurvy discovered in Spain serves as a warning to parents who unknowingly give a supposedly healthy vegan-based alternative to real milk. Spanish doctors diagnosed an 11-month old infant of scurvy after having a diet that consisted mostly of almond milk.

Scurvy, previously known as the 'Sailors' Scourge' due to lack of access to Vitamin-rich fruits during extremely long voyage at sea, is no longer a major public health concern in most, if not all, developing countries.

Featured in the journal Pediatrics, doctors observed that the baby patient easily got tired, irritated, and unable to stand or even walk properly. In addition, medical x-rays showed that the infant's bones were degenerating and fracturing in multiple areas in the leg and back parts. They also found out that the patient was low on essential nutrients like vitamin C, D, iron, and zinc.

"This case demonstrates that scurvy is a new and severe complication of improper use of almond drinks in the first year of life. Plant-based beverages are not a complete food and they may not replace breastfeeding or infant formula," the doctors said in an official statement as quoted by USA Today.

Breast milk contains vitamin c and other equally important nutrients to save babies from such condition. Likewise, infant formula milk has been formulated to contain more or less the same nutrients to give babies a blanket of protection against certain diseases like scurvy.

According to Independent, the infant patient was immediately placed on vitamin-rich replacement diet consisting mainly of formula milk, fruit, and meat. Almond-based milk was cut off from the baby's diet.

The rare documented case of scurvy underscores the need for parents to stick to recommended feeding guidelines for their babies.

"Before you change [a] child's diet, it needs to be changed to a nutritionally adequate diet. This is too critical a period. Bottom line, stick to breast milk or formula," told Dr. Keith Ayoob Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York as mentioned in a report by ABC News.

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