Study: Whey Infant Formula Does Not Reduce Allergy Risk

July 8, 2011

Australian researchers found no evidence of reduced allergy development with a Nestlé whey infant formula.

Partially hydrolyzed whey formula is recommended for infants with family history of allergies, but does it really reduce the risk of childhood allergies? According to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, it doesn’t.

According to Reuters, which reported on the study, doctors often recommend this type of whey formula because cow’s milk formulas may make allergies more likely and whey’s smaller proteins are believed to be less likely to cause allergies.

Led by Adrian J. Lowe, PhD, of the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne, Australia), researchers recruited 620 infants (before birth) with family history of allergic disease. Infants were randomized to receive one of three formulas: conventional cow’s milk, soy formula, or a partially hydrolyzed whey formula.

Skin prick testing was conducted at 6, 12, and 24 months of age for six common allergens: milk, egg, peanut, dust mite, rye grass, and cat dander. Follow up was performed at 2 and 6 or 7 years.

“Despite current dietary guidelines, we found no evidence to support recommending the use of pHWF at weaning for the prevention o fallergic disease in high-risk infants.”

According to Reuters, the formula was Nestlé’s NAN Hypoallergenic whey product.