The Role of Hydrolyzed Formula in Allergy Prevention

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Asthma, eczema, food allergy, and allergic rhinitis are some of the most common pediatric, chronic conditions in the world. Breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed all infants. For those infants who are exposed to infant formula, some studies suggest that certain partially hydrolyzed or extensively hydrolyzed formulas may decrease the risk of allergic disease compared to nonhydrolyzed formulas for children with a family history of atopic disease. Overall, there is some evidence to suggest that partially hydrolyzed whey formulas and extensively hydrolyzed casein formulas may decrease the risk of developing eczema for infants at high risk of allergic disease. The evidence for a preventive effect of hydrolyzed formulas on allergic rhinitis, food allergy, and asthma is inconsistent and insufficient. Finally, the qualitative changes to the peptides by the method of hydrolysis, not just the degree of protein hydrolysis, may have a large influence on the preventive effect of a particular infant formula for the potential risk of allergic disease. As a result, it may be difficult to generalize findings from clinical studies using a specific infant formula to other infant formulas from different manufacturers using different methods of hydrolysis. Further clinical studies are needed to help clinicians identify which infants may benefit from early intervention, as well as which specific hydrolyzed formulas are best suited to decrease the risk of future allergic disease.

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