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The positive role of micronutrient-fortified young-child formula on iron and vitamin D status in healthy young European children

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published the first randomized, double-blind controlled trial looking at the role of micronutrient-fortified young-child formula (YCF) on iron and vitamin D status in healthy young European children.

This study (named IDea study, I for Iron, D for vitamine D) involved collaboration between Danone Nutricia Research and the involved collaboration between Danone Nutricia Research and the Department of Pediatrics, Juliana Children’s Hospital and assessed whether iron and vitamin D status could be optimised using young child formula (YCF). The results provide clear and strong evidence that daily consumption of YCF improves the nutritional status of young children and reduces deficiencies in these two micronutrients, in comparison to consumption of cow’s milk.

The study sample consisted of 318 predominantly Caucasian healthy children aged 1–3 year olds from Germany, Netherlands, and England. As part of the study, children were allocated to receive either YCF (1.2 mg Fe/100 mL; 1.7 mg vitamin D/100 mL) or nonfortified cows’ milk (0.02 mg Fe/100 mL; no vitamin D) for 20 wk. Blood samples were collected before and after the intervention. The primary objective of the study was to investigate the effect of a micronutrient-fortified young-child formula (YCF) given for 20 weeks on ferritin concentrations of healthy children aged 12–36 months living in Western Europe compared with the use of nonfortified cows’ milk. The secondary objectives were to establish the effect of the intervention on the prevalence of ID and IDA, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH) D] concentrations, and the prevalence of VDD.

This publication is of key importance as Iron deficiency (ID) and vitamin D deficiency (VDD) are among the most common micronutrient deficiencies in young children worldwide.1Allen L, de Benoist B, Omar D, Hurrell R, editors. del. del. Guidelines on food fortification with micronutrients [Internet]. [cited]. Published on 2016 Jan 2 ID can lead to iron deficiency anemia (IDA) which is associated with impaired neurodevelopment.2Algarin C, Nelson CA, Peirano P, Westerlund A, Reyes S, Lozoff B, Iron-deficiency anemia in infancy and poorer cognitive inhibitory control at age 10 years. Dev Med Child Neurol. Published on … Continue reading,3Lozoff B, Iron deficiency and child development. Food Nutr Bull. Published on 2007; 28:S560–71 ,4Lozoff B, Clark KM, Jing Y, Armony-Sivan R, Angelilli ML, Jacobson SW, Dose-response relationships between iron deficiency with or without anemia and infant social-emotional behaviour. J Pediatr. … Continue reading,5Lukowski AF, Koss M, Burden MJ, Jonides J, Nelson CA, Kaciroti N, Jimenez E, Lozoff B, Iron deficiency in infancy and neurocognitive functioning at 19 years: evidence of long-term deficits in … Continue reading In addition vitamin D has been linked to play a role in immune function and may possibly prevent the development of certain cancers, whereas VDD can lead to the onset of rickets.6Misra M, Pacaud D, Petryk A, Collett-Solberg PF, Kappy M, Vitamin D deficiency in children and its management: review of current knowledge and recommendations. Pediatrics . Published on … Continue reading,7Thacher TD, Fischer PR, Strand MA, Pettifor JM, Nutritional rickets around the world: causes and future directions. Ann Trop Paediatr. Published on 2006;26:1–16 Although national nutritional recommendations are in place in many European countries, iron and vitamin D intakes in young children still remain inadequate.8Akkermans MD, van der Horst-Graat J, Eussen S, van Goudoever J, Brus F. Iron and vitamin D deficiency in healthy young children in Western Europe despite current nutritional recommendations. J … Continue reading,9Braegger C, Campoy C, Colomb V, Decsi T, Domellof M, Fewtrell M, Hojsak I, Mihatsch W, Molgaard C, Shamir R, et al. Vitamin D in the healthy European paediatric population. J Pediatr Gastroenterol … Continue reading,10European Food Safety Authority. Scientific opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union [Internet], Published on [cited 2016 Jan 2] ,11Eussen S, Alles M, Uijterschout L, Brus F, van der Horst-Graat J, Iron intake and status of children aged 6–36 months in Europe: a systematic review. Ann Nutr Metab. Published on 2015;66:80–92 ,12Ocke MC, van Rossum CTM, Fransen HP, Buurma EJM, de Boer EJ, Brants HAM. Niekerk EM, van der Laan JD, Drijvers JJMM, Ghameshlou Z, Dutch national food consumption survey—young children 2005/2006 … Continue reading In addition compliance of vitamin D supplements in the population remains very poor.13Thacher TD, Fischer PR, Strand MA, Pettifor JM, Nutritional rickets around the world: causes and future directions. Ann Trop Paediatr. Published on 2006;26:1–16 ,14Akkermans MD, van der Horst-Graat J, Eussen S, van Goudoever J, Brus F. Iron and vitamin D deficiency in healthy young children in Western Europe despite current nutritional recommendations. J … Continue reading,15Braegger C, Campoy C, Colomb V, Decsi T, Domellof M, Fewtrell M, Hojsak I, Mihatsch W, Molgaard C, Shamir R, et al. Vitamin D in the healthy European paediatric population. J Pediatr Gastroenterol … Continue reading

The results of this study determine that daily consumption of YCF for 20 weeks preserves iron status and improves vitamin D status in healthy European children aged 12–36 months. For instance children consuming YCF were 58% less likely to be deficient in iron and 78% less likely to be deficient in vitamin D when compared to the group consuming cows’ milk.

Overall this study helps to better understand the reality of the nutritional status of Western European young children, and the role that Young Child Formula (YCF) can play as an option to fill existing nutritional gaps in the diet of toddlers.

The full article can be accessed via this link http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2017/01/04/ajcn.116.136143.abstract?papetocl

Click here to access the infographic visualizing the key results of the IDea study.

View References

View References
1 Allen L, de Benoist B, Omar D, Hurrell R, editors. del. del. Guidelines on food fortification with micronutrients [Internet]. [cited]. Published on 2016 Jan 2
2 Algarin C, Nelson CA, Peirano P, Westerlund A, Reyes S, Lozoff B, Iron-deficiency anemia in infancy and poorer cognitive inhibitory control at age 10 years. Dev Med Child Neurol. Published on 2013;55:453–8
3 Lozoff B, Iron deficiency and child development. Food Nutr Bull. Published on 2007; 28:S560–71
4 Lozoff B, Clark KM, Jing Y, Armony-Sivan R, Angelilli ML, Jacobson SW, Dose-response relationships between iron deficiency with or without anemia and infant social-emotional behaviour. J Pediatr. Published on 2008;152:696–702
5 Lukowski AF, Koss M, Burden MJ, Jonides J, Nelson CA, Kaciroti N, Jimenez E, Lozoff B, Iron deficiency in infancy and neurocognitive functioning at 19 years: evidence of long-term deficits in executive function and recognition memory. Nutr Neurosci. Published on 2010;13:54–70
6 Misra M, Pacaud D, Petryk A, Collett-Solberg PF, Kappy M, Vitamin D deficiency in children and its management: review of current knowledge and recommendations. Pediatrics . Published on 2008;122:398–417
7, 13 Thacher TD, Fischer PR, Strand MA, Pettifor JM, Nutritional rickets around the world: causes and future directions. Ann Trop Paediatr. Published on 2006;26:1–16
8, 14 Akkermans MD, van der Horst-Graat J, Eussen S, van Goudoever J, Brus F. Iron and vitamin D deficiency in healthy young children in Western Europe despite current nutritional recommendations. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr . Published on 2016;62:635–42
9, 15 Braegger C, Campoy C, Colomb V, Decsi T, Domellof M, Fewtrell M, Hojsak I, Mihatsch W, Molgaard C, Shamir R, et al. Vitamin D in the healthy European paediatric population. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. Published on 2013;56:692–701
10 European Food Safety Authority. Scientific opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union [Internet], Published on [cited 2016 Jan 2]
11 Eussen S, Alles M, Uijterschout L, Brus F, van der Horst-Graat J, Iron intake and status of children aged 6–36 months in Europe: a systematic review. Ann Nutr Metab. Published on 2015;66:80–92
12 Ocke MC, van Rossum CTM, Fransen HP, Buurma EJM, de Boer EJ, Brants HAM. Niekerk EM, van der Laan JD, Drijvers JJMM, Ghameshlou Z, Dutch national food consumption survey—young children 2005/2006 [Internet]. Published on [cited 2016 Jan 2]