Allergies :: Breast milk alternative may prevent food allergies

Using hydrolyzed casein or whey formulas when breast milk is inadequately produced may help prevent at-risk infants from developing allergies, according to a review of studies on the topic.

“Both partially hydrolyzed whey formulas and extensively hydrolyzed casein formulas have been shown to reduce the incidence of allergy in high risk infants,” study author Tiffani Hays told.

Hydrolysate formulas, which have a lower-molecular weight than cow’s milk formulas, were developed as an alternative to formulas with intact milk or soy proteins, for infants at risk of food allergy. Hays, and co-author Dr. Robert A. Wood, reviewed nine studies on the use of extensively hydrolyzed formulas, 12 studies on the use of partially hydrolyzed formulas in infants at high-risk of food allergy and one study that examined the use of partially hydrolyzed formulas among a general sample of infants. The studies compared hydrolyzed formulas to breastfeeding, cow’s milk, soy-based formulas or some combination of these products.

Children with allergies “could potentially still react” to such formulas, Hays said, emphasizing that partially hydrolyzed formulas are “not for treatment, they were designed for prevention, but (extensively hydrolyzed formulas) can be used for both.”

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