Food allergy in childhood is on the rise globally and is managed with avoidance diets; recent case reports of food allergic children with nutritional rickets in the literature highlight the importance of close monitoring of bone health in this population.
There is no consensus as yet with regard to bone health evaluation in food allergic children; therefore, extensive literature search was performed and the existing evidence is presented, along with a relevant algorithm.
Children allergic to cow’s milk protein or presenting with allergy in more than three food items, as well as patients with severe allergic phenotypes or comorbidities known to affect the skeleton, seem to be at risk of metabolic bone disorders. As a practical guide, suspicious cases can be investigated with basic bone profile, whereas more severe cases (persistent bone pain and fractures) may undergo advanced bone health assessment, with bone mineral density (BMD) and metabolic bone markers’ evaluation. Of note, these diagnostic steps call for further studies in the field of food allergy, as they are not performed as a routine. Evidence is accumulating with regard to vitamin D deficiency, osteopenia and imbalanced bone metabolism in those food allergic children who show poor dietary compliance or have inadequate medical supervision.
Ensuring optimal bone accrual in a food allergic child is an important task for the clinician and requires close monitoring of the restrictive diet and prompt therapeutic intervention, in an effort to avoid rickets or osteopenia.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted article and approved submission.
Research funding: AED and EMM declare no conflict of interest. NGP has received payments for consultancy (Abbvie, Novartis, Menarini, Meda, Alk-Abello, GSK, Chiesi), lectures including service on speakers bureaus (Novartis, Uriach, GSK, Allergopharma, Stallergens, MSD), educational presentations (Abbrie, Sanofi, Menarini, MEDA) and grants from Nestle, MSD.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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