Soy milk, which is derived from soybeans, is often recommended to children who have allergies to cow's milk or are otherwise considered lactose intolerant. Although soy milk is often touted as being a healthy alternative to cow's milk, it may pose serious health consequences to children. When soy milk is incorporated into their children's diet, parents need to be extra vigilant about monitoring them for signs of allergic reaction or unusual symptoms.
According to the Children's Physician Network website, soy is one of the foods that is commonly responsible for food allergies. Symptoms of a soy allergy include nausea, vomiting, asthma, conjunctivitis, itching about the mouth and dermatological manifestations such as hives, itching and inflammation. Children who consume soy products are at risk for a rare, but serious, allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. This medical emergency causes difficulty breathing and inflammation of the airway, which obstructs effective breathing patterns.
Soy is known as a phytoestrogen, which is a plant substance that mimics the effects of natural estrogen, according to the medical experts at Cornell University. Experts from the University of Maryland Medical Center warn that phytoestrogens such as soy may alter certain circulating hormones, and it is speculated that baby formulas derived from soy may have the potential to cause reproductive problems later in life.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Consuming soy may increase the amount of vitamin D that the body needs, according the The Weston A. Price Foundation, a website dedicated to disseminating information about nutrients in the food supply. According to HealthyChildren.org, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children need vitamin D to develop strong bones and to possibly stave off certain chronic diseases as they get older.
Soy milk contains high levels of manganese, which may be linked to behavioral problems, according to Francis Crinella, professor of pediatrics, and his colleagues at UCI and UC Davis, whose findings were published via the Science Daily online platform. According to Dr. Crinella and colleagues, dopamine levels decrease in the presence of higher manganese levels. Decreases in dopamine occurred in those areas of the brain responsible for problem-solving. This situation may raise the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the study.