Popularity, lactose intolerance and allergies have led many to drinking non-dairy milks including rice, soy and almond milks. In North America, Cow’s milk is required to be fortified with vitamin D, whereas it is voluntary for the non-dairy milk to add vitamin D. Recent research has shown that children drinking non-dairy milk are more than twice as likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Researchers found that children who drank non-cow’s milk, each cup consumed was associated with a 5% decrease in vitamin D levels per month, versus drinking cow’s milk.
Vitamin D is produced in the body due to sun exposure, and is also found in fish, fortified cow’s milk and other foods. Vitamin D is essential in the body in forming and strengthening bones. Caregivers should be mindful of the calcium and vitamin D sources their child is consuming to ensure proper bone development. Be sure to consult your primary care physician or registered dietitian for further details.