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Newborns have been hospitalized with rickets and brain damage after being fed restrictive alkaline-diet formulas by their parents. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said between August 2020 February 2021 three infants were hospitalized after consuming 'nutritionally deficient' homemade formulas based on alkaline diet recipes.
The three infants were treated in separate emergency departments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware for severe hypocalcemia and rickets.
According to their parents, each of the infants was fed a homemade formula that followed the alkaline diet that contained ingredients like sea moss, hemp seeds, dates, coconut water, and alkaline water but had insufficient nutrients like vitamin D and calcium, insider.com reported.
The alkaline diet is promoted to fight disease and cancer but is not supported by scientific evidence.
The celebrity-backed diet promotes the idea that eating alkaline food, which include raw fruits and veggies, nuts, legumes, and soy, while limiting acidic foods like animal products and grains, can help the body maintain a healthy pH balance.
The report described one four-month-old who had been on alkaline formula for a month who was found unresponsive in the home after suffering respiratory distress earlier this year.
The four-month-old had to be intubated and receive mechanical ventilation and after being resuscitated doctors found he'd suffered brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen, as well as serious electrolyte deficiencies.
The baby also had symptoms of rickets- the softening and weakening of bones from an extreme vitamin D deficiency.
Around the same time, a five-month-old also went to the emergency room with stiff limbs, skin discoloration, and trouble breathing after two months on an alkaline-diet formula.
Lab test showed he had low calcium levels and bone deformities consistent with rickets.
He was given an IV loaded with calcium and magnesium and sent home after being put on a commercial infant formula diet.
The report also said in August 2020 a nine-month-old boy arrived at the hospital after five days of irritability.
He was found to be underweight, short for his age and had a misshapen head.
The baby also could not sit up without assistance and had poor motor skills.
Tests also showed the baby was deficient in calcium, vitamin D, and iodine and he was diagnosed with rickets.
He was given supplements and discharged to a long-term care facility.
The CDC and the FDA have issued warnings about the use of homemade infant formula and said these three cases highlight the potential for 'grave consequences' for parents who feed their children homemade formulas.
'Infants fed an alternative diet can develop severe deficiencies and experience long-lasting developmental consequences,' the report said.
The CDC said parents should turn to more traditional breast milk or commercial formula diets which contain the vitamins and nutrients babies need for optimal growth and development.