Families and physicians alike benefit from the advances and ease of the Internet. Similarly, both can be unaware of harmful misinformation circulating the Web. In this article, we describe the presentation of 2 unrelated infants, within 1 week of each other, with vitamin D deficiency rickets and severe extraskeletal manifestations of hypocalcemia, including seizures and cardiac arrest, from homemade, vegan formula found through Pinterest (San Francisco, CA). Despite good parental intentions this formula did not meet macronutrient and micronutrient standards, particularly regarding vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium content, and led to rare, life-threatening complications in both cases. Before presentation, both patients followed appropriately with their pediatrician and discussed feeding in detail, although neither family disclosed the use of homemade formula. Pediatricians must be aware of these dangerous homemade alternative formulas, consider the manner and depth of their feeding history questioning, and continue to counsel against homemade formula to prevent further harm to children.
Recipe for Disaster: Homemade Formula Leading to Severe Complications in 2 Infants
POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Dr Graber is a contributing author to Merck Manuals. Drs Vieira, Kube, van Helmond, Hanley, Bialo, and Slamon have disclosed no financial relationships relevant to this article.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
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Meredith A. Vieira, Paige K. Kube, Jennifer L. van Helmond, Patrick C. Hanley, Evan G. Graber, Shara R. Bialo, Nicholas B. Slamon; Recipe for Disaster: Homemade Formula Leading to Severe Complications in 2 Infants. Pediatrics September 2021; 148 (3): e2021050947. 10.1542/peds.2021-050947
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