Iron deficiency anemia and protein-losing enteropathy related to excessive milk intake

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Milk can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, drinking too much milk can lead to low levels of iron in the blood and some children can then lose protein from the gut.

Key points

  • Too much milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia and protein loss from the gut.
  • Milk intake should be limited to a maximum of 500 mL (2 cups or 16 oz.) per day for toddlers and young children.
  • The main treatment for iron deficiency and protein loss from the gut due to excess milk intake is to reduce the amount of milk your child drinks and to increase the amount iron rich foods in their diet. For moderate to severe anemia, iron supplements are also needed.
  • See a doctor if your child drinks a lot of milk and is tired, weak, pale or has a swollen face, legs and feet.
Last updated: January 16th 2019