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Vol. 16 - Num. 61

Brief Reports

Dietary intake of nitrate in Spanish infants and children and risk of methemoglobinemia

Julio Basulto Marseta, María Manerab, Eduard Baladiac

aDietista nutricionista. Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud y el Bienestar. Universitat de Vic, Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVic-UCC). Vic. Barcelona. España.
bDietista-nutricionista. Sociedad Española para el estudio Interdisciplinar de la la Alimentación y los hábitos Saludables. Barcelona. España.
cEditor. Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética. España.

Correspondence: J Basulto. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Basulto Marset J, Manera M, Baladia E. Dietary intake of nitrate in Spanish infants and children and risk of methemoglobinemia. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2014;16:65-9.

Published in Internet: 14-11-2013 - Visits: 46298


Although the consumption of vegetables is recommended for adults, infants and young children, there is a risk that their consumption results in a high intake of nitrates that increases the risk of methemoglobinemia. Even though the average nitrate intake in children does not exceed the European safety threshold, an analysis conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2010 revealed that the consumption of spinach may be involved in certain cases of infant methemoglobinemia. The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) found in 2011 that chards, because of its remarkable consumption in Spain, may also pose a risk for children. In addition to the AESAN recommendations, that any health care professional in the field of infant nutrition should know, it is prudent to add that a high consumption of borage (Borago officinalis, a vegetable widely consumed in Navarra, La Rioja and Aragón in homemade purees) may also be involved in infant methemoglobinemia. In any case, and as EFSA and AESAN point out, the benefits of eating vegetables prevail over the risks of the exposure to nitrates linked to their consumption.


Children Infants Methemoglobinemia Nitrates Nitrites Vegetables



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