New Australian research has found there was no benefit in using hypoallergenic formula to prevent allergies in high-risk infants, compared to a conventional cow's milk based formula.
The findings, appearing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, are based on a large study involving more than 600 infants. It assessed whether using the formula decreased the risk of allergy in later life.
The infants in the study were given either hypoallergenic, cow's milk or soy formula after the cessation of breastfeeding. Allergy testing was undertaken at six, 12 and 24 months and the children were followed up again at six or seven years of age.
The study found that the hypoallergenic formula did not show any beneficial effect when compared with a normal cows' milk based formula for the prevention childhood eczema, asthma or hay fever up to seven years of age.
Lead researcher David Hill, a Senior Consultant Allergist at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, said the findings did not support the recommendations that hypoallergenic formula should be used after breast feeding as a preventive strategy for infants at high risk of allergenic disease.
"Our findings do not support the role of hypoallergenic formula for the prevention of allergic disease. Families at high risk of allergy should continue to be encouraged to breast feed for the many known benefits associated with breastfeeding," concluded Hill.
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Source: University of Melbourne