Parents who turn to special cow or soy milk formulas to help lower the risk of asthma or allergies in their babies are wasting their time new research has suggested.
With allergies and autoimmune conditions rising throughout the world the popularity of hydrolysed formulas (usually labelled HA or hypoallergenic) has increased but a study out of the UK and endorsed by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has shown that there is no evidence to suggest these expensive formulas lower the incidence of allergies or auto immune conditions.
A paper in the British Medical Journal by the Imperial College London found no consistent proof that hydrolysed milk formula can deliver the touted benefits.
“Our findings conflict with current international guidelines, in which hydrolyzed formula is widely recommended for young formula-fed infants with a family history of allergic disease,” wrote the study authors.
The team conducted a review and meta-analysis of 37 intervention trials that included more than 19,000 individuals from 1946 to 2015. The trials compared hydrolysed milk formula with natural human breast milk and standard cows’ milk formula, and reported on relevant conditions such as asthma, eczema, food allergy and type 1 diabetes.
They said, "We found no consistent evidence to support a protective role for partially or extensively hydrolysed formula."
The findings have promoted new advice issued for parents on infant feeding and guidelines for allergy prevention by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), the peak body for allergy and critical immunology in Australia.
They have updated their guidelines recommending that hyper-allergic formulas don’t work for the prevention of any allergic disease as well as encouraging new mothers to increase their consumption of oily fish.
“Where we once suggested that partially hydrolysed infant formulas may provide some benefit, the combined weight of evidence no longer supports this.” Professor Dianne Campbell, Chair of the ASCIA Paediatric Committee told The Motherish.