News article

New review looks at early nutritional strategies for preventing allergic disease

Posted:  Friday, July 13, 2012

With the numbers of adults and children with allergic disorders on the increase globally, a new review on nutritional strategies to prevent allergic diseases in childhood, by Hania Szajewska MD, has set out to find effective strategies that can reduce the onset of allergies through early intervention.

While the review stated exclusive breasting feeding for the first six months as a desirable goal, especially for those children with a hereditary risk of allergy (i.e. those with an affected parent and/or sibling), where this is not possible, it is recommended that these infants should receive a formula with a confirmed effect on allergy reduction.

However, the review highlighted that not all hydrolyzed formulas are equal and that efficacy and safety should be established for each hydrolyzed formula, as a number of factors, including not only the protein source and degree of hydrolysis, but also the method of hydrolysis, contribute to differences in effect among hydrolysates and their effect on the risk of specific conditions. 

For example, a 2010 meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of a partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula with that of standard infant formula in reducing the risk of allergy in healthy infants at high risk for atopic disease showed that pHF compared to standard infant formula reduced the risk of atopic dermatitis. With many studies, with different methods, drawing the same conclusions, the effects of pHF can be generalised. 

As for the introduction of solids, Szajewska found no convincing scientific evidence that avoidance or delayed introduction of potentially allergenic foods positively influence the risk of allergy. Likewise, she found insufficient evidence to support routine use of pro- and prebiotics for allergy prevention at this time.

You can read the full review paper here.