Medical Definition of Infant mineral requirements

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Infant mineral requirements: Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, iodine, copper and zinc) and trace elements (manganese, chromium, selenium, and molybdenum) are included in most infant formulas. Therefore, there is no evidence that mineral supplementation are necessary for healthy formula-fed, full- term infants.

In the past, it was recommended that infants from birth to 4 months of age could receive a lower quantity of iron compared with those from 4 to 12 months of age. As such, several milk-based formulas (for example, Similac (Ross Pharmaceuticals) and Enfamil (Mead Johnson Pharmaceuticals)) were marketed under two varieties -- "low iron" and "high iron." (Some parents have inaccurately called "low iron" formulas "no iron" -- no such product exists.)

Multiple studies on iron requirements for all infants have since been performed. Pediatricians currently recommend that all children receive the iron content found in "high iron" formulas. It is not necessary to search for "high iron" formula brands. Unless the container clearly indicates that the brand is "low iron," all brands are manufactured with only the single "high iron" option. These include both milk-based as well as soy protein-based brands.

Folklore describes the "high iron" formulas as being more likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects, including increased gas and constipation. Many studies have conclusively shown this not to be the case.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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