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Low Serum Calcium and High Parathyroid Hormone Levels in Neonates Fed 'Humanized' Cow's Milk—Based Formula

Bonny L. Specker, PhD; Reginald C. Tsang, MBBS; Mona L. Ho, MS; Theresa M. Landi, MSN; Teresa L. Gratton, MS
Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(8):941-945. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160080119033.
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• We previously suggested that "late" neonatal hypocalcemia is related to a low calcium-phosphorus ratio of current cow's milk—based formula compared with human milk. However, there are no longitudinal studies of ionized calcium and parathyroid hormone concentrations in neonates receiving formulas with varying Ca/P ratios. Sixty-nine term neonates were studied through 2 weeks of age, and formula-fed neonates were randomized at birth to receive formula with molar ratios of 0.9,1.2, or 1.4. Serum phosphate concentrations on days 2 and 6 of age were higher, and ionized calcium levels lower on days 6 and 14, in formula-fed vs human milk—fed neonates. Serum intact parathyroid hormone level increased between days 2 and 6 in formula-fed neonates compared with a decrease in human milk—fed neonates. Serum parathyroid hormone level on day 6 correlated with phosphorus intake among formula-fed neonates. No differences were noted in serum mineral or hormone levels among formula-fed groups. We speculate that the lowering of serum ionized calcium concentrations in neonates fed a modern "humanized" cow's milk formula may be a factor in late neonatal hypocalcemia.

(AJDC. 1991;145:941-945)


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