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Arch Dis Child. 1976 May;51(5):377-84.

Calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium concentrations in plasma during first week of life and their relation to type of milk feed.


Serial changes in plasma levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, alkaline phosphatase, and total proteins have been investigated in 138 healthy, term Caucasian infants. Blood samples were obtained for each infant from cord blood and on day 1 and day 6. The infants were studied in three groups according to whether they were breast fed, received 'Ostermilk No. 1' or 'Cow and Gate V' formulas. Levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, alkaline phosphatase, and total proteins did not differ between the groups at birth or on day 1. By day 6 calcium levels were higher and phosphorus levels lower in the breast-fed infants compared with either of the artificially-fed groups. Phosphorus levels were lower in the V Formula group compared with the Ostermilk group but the mean calcium levels of these two groups did not differ significantly. However, only 2-8% of the V Formula group developed hypocalcaemia compared with 18-2% of the Ostermilk group. The only infant developing clinical tetany belonged to the group fed Ostermilk. Evidence is also given which suggests that those infants with low calcium levels on day 1 who were fed the high-solute milk tended to show a fall in calcium by day 6. This did not apply to the two other groups. It is concluded that the use of adapted cows' milk preparations for infant feeding should lead to a reduction in the incidence of neonatal tetany.

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