Humans are exposed to
aluminum from a variety of sources, including drinking water, infant
formula, breast milk and some medications. Preterm infants who receive
intravenous feeding solutions with aluminum, often to ensure their
survival, may have reduced lumbar spine and hip bone mass in
adolescence. In addition, these children also may face a potential risk
of osteoporosis and hip fractures as adults.
In a British study,
“Aluminum Exposure From Parenteral Nutrition in Preterm Infants: Bone Health at 15-Year Follow-up,” researchers looked at the long-term
effects of intravenous feeding solutions which contain a significant
amount of aluminum. In the study, researchers followed up with 59
adolescents, ages 13 to 15, who had received intravenous feeding
solutions as infants. Half the group had received aluminum-depleted
nutritional solution as a pre-term infant, and the others received a
standard intravenous solution containing aluminum. Children who
received the standard solution had lower lumbar spine bone mass, while
those who received more than 55 micrograms per kg (the threshold level
for aluminum intake) had lower hip bone mass as adolescents.
authors recommend greater focus on reducing aluminum in intravenous
feeding solutions for preterm infants, as well as additional research
to more definitively assess the long-term effects of early aluminum
exposure. The authors also cautioned that the adverse effects from
preterm infants not having intravenous nutrition may likely outweigh
any potential detrimental effect from the aluminum.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.