Decreased bone mineral density in young adult IgE-mediated cow's milk-allergic patients

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Nov;134(5):1108-1113.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.06.026. Epub 2014 Aug 1.


Background: IgE-mediated cow's milk-allergic (IgE-CMA) patients provide a valuable model for studying the relationship between dairy intake and bone mineral density (BMD) because they are unable to consume even minor amounts of dairy foods.

Objective: To determine the effects of dairy restriction on BMD in young adult IgE-CMA patients.

Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted from July 2012 to June 2013 at the Allergy unit of the Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center. Densitometric measurements of postpubertal patients diagnosed with IgE-CMA (group I, n = 33) were compared with those of volunteers matched for age and sex without IgE-CMA (control group II, n = 24). In a second analysis, group I and II patients were compared with IgE-CMA patients who after desensitization consumed milk for 12 to 39 months before analysis (group III, n = 12).

Results: Densitometric measurements (average T scores and Z scores) of the hip, femoral neck, and lumbar spine of IgE-CMA patients were significantly lower than of those in the control group (P < .0001). A T score below -2.5 SD, identifying a risk for osteoporosis, was found in 27% of IgE-CMA patients but in none of the controls (P = .0071). Calcium intake was severely reduced in allergic patients than in controls (P < .0001). BMD measurements in group III were significantly greater than in group I (P < .0001) and unchanged from the control group.

Conclusions: Patients with IgE-CMA have a significant risk of reduced BMD and early osteoporosis, which appears to be reversible on milk desensitization. Adequate calcium intake is not achieved while on a nondairy diet, requiring investigation into optimal nutritional protocols for these patients.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; cow's milk allergy; osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / immunology*
  • Calcium / immunology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / immunology*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Calcium