Last update Sept. 7, 2022

Nitrate / Nitrite

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

El nitrato y el nitrito de la dieta son fuentes de NO gástrico, que modula el flujo sanguíneo, la producción de moco y la flora microbiana. Un exceso de nitratos y nitritos proviene de medicamentos (nitroglicerina, dinitrato de isosorbida, nitroprusiato), o de alimentos y aguas contaminadas por fertilizantes. (Johnson 1990)

El riesgo de un exceso de nitratos/nitritos para los lactantes es la metahemoglobinemia. (Greer 2005, Knobeloch 2000)

La ingesta diaria admisible (IDA) para el ion nitrato es de 3,7 mg/kg de peso corporal y para el ion nitrito es de 0,06 mg/kg de peso corporal. (WHO 2004)

La leche materna contiene nitratos y nitritos. Los nitratos y nitritos de la dieta se excretan en pequeña cantidad en la leche materna, suponiendo menos del 10% de la IDA para nitratos y menos del 3% de la IDA para nitritos. (Hord 2011, Dusdieker 1996, Paszkowski 1989)

Hay mucho más nitritos en el calostro que en la leche madura, y menos en la leche de madre de prematuro. (Jones 2014)

La cantidad de nitratos de la leche materna depende poco del contenido de nitratos del agua de bebida. La mayor concentración de nitratos/nitritos en agua y alimentos, propia de regiones contaminadas, no modificó significativamente los niveles en leche materna. (Paszkowski 1989)

Los bebés amamantados no tienen riesgo de metahemoglobinemia, incluso cuando las madres ingieren agua con concentraciones muy altas (100 ppm) de nitrógeno nitrato. (Greer 2005)

Ha ocurrido metahemoglobinemia inducida por nitratos en bebés alimentados con alimentos o fórmulas preparadas con agua contaminada. (Greer 2005, Medovy 1947)

La leche de vaca y algunas fórmulas para bebes basadas en leche de vaca y en soja, contienen alta cantidad de nitratos y nitritos, superando el 50% y hasta el 100% de la IDA recomendada (Hord 2011). Las concentraciones de nitrito y nitrato en las fórmulas infantiles varían desde indetectables hasta muchas veces más que en la leche materna. (Jones 2014)

La cantidad de nitratos de los medicamentos vasodilatadores (nitroglicerina, dinitrato de isosorbidaes de pocos miligramos y no se ha descrito ningún problema durante la lactancia.


We do not have alternatives for Nitrate / Nitrite.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Nitrate / Nitrite belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Nitrate / Nitrite in its composition:


  1. Jones JA, Ninnis JR, Hopper AO, Ibrahim Y, Merritt TA, Wan KW, Power GG, Blood AB. Nitrite and nitrate concentrations and metabolism in breast milk, infant formula, and parenteral nutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014 Sep;38(7):856-66. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Hord NG, Ghannam JS, Garg HK, Berens PD, Bryan NS. Nitrate and nitrite content of human, formula, bovine, and soy milks: implications for dietary nitrite and nitrate recommendations. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Dec;6(6):393-9. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Greer FR, Shannon M; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health.. Infant methemoglobinemia: the role of dietary nitrate in food and water. Pediatrics. 2005 Sep;116(3):784-6. Abstract
  4. WHO. World Health Organization. Recommendations; nitrate and nitrite. In: Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, 3rd ed. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2004, pp. 417–420. Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, 3rd ed. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2004, pp. 417–420. Full text (link to original source)
  5. Knobeloch L, Salna B, Hogan A, Postle J, Anderson H. Blue babies and nitrate-contaminated well water. Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Jul;108(7):675-8. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. Dusdieker LB, Stumbo PJ, Kross BC, Dungy CI. Does increased nitrate ingestion elevate nitrate levels in human milk? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996 Mar;150(3):311-4. Abstract
  7. Johnson CJ, Kross BC. Continuing importance of nitrate contamination of groundwater and wells in rural areas. Am J Ind Med. 1990;18(4):449-56. Abstract
  8. Paszkowski T, Sikorski R, Kozak A, Kowalski B, Jakubik J. [Contamination of human milk with nitrates and nitrites]. Pol Tyg Lek. 1989 Nov 13-27;44(46-48):961-3. Polish. Abstract
  9. MEDOVY H, GUEST WC, VICTOR M. Cyanosis in infants in rural areas (well-water methaemoglobinaemia). Can Med Assoc J. 1947 May;56(5):505-8. No abstract available. Abstract Full text (link to original source)

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