Researchers prove that milk formulas have no effect whatsoever in preventing allergies in infants.
Over the past few years, US and UK’s health authorities have been keen on selling the idea that milk formula use for infants is beneficial for preventing allergies and eczema.
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Hydrolysed cow milk is usually made available by different brands and health experts claim that using milk formulas not only prevent but also fight against with allergies like milk allergies.
European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has also recommended the use of hypoallergenic formulas for extreme cases of allergies for the first four months.
Is this claim true however? That was the question which a research team from Imperial College London in England led by Robert Boyle was asking when they conducted a study.
The research team analysed studies that involved over 19,000 participants. Among these studies, researchers had compared hydrolysed formula to standard formula, and some trials made comparisons with breast milk or between two different hydrolysed formulas.
The team found that there were no conclusive evidence found in the studies that supported the claim that hydrolysed milk formulas were effective against allergies.
Dr. Boyle said that even though there is a large emphasis on using these formulas for fighting the allergies in infants, there is no supportive data in any of the studies that the formula actually works against such conditions.
He elaborated further that among the studies, there had been some that had no conflict and remained uncontested. These are the very studies that the physicians base their recommendations on.
Furthermore the team also questioned the timing of starting the infants on formula. They said that in most studies, babies were started on formula four days after birth which raises the question whether enough emphasis was made on breast feeding.
Breast feeding to date is the healthiest, proven choice against most diseases. Dr. Boyle said that most of the studies were funded by companies selling the formulas and one has to question the authenticity of the studies’ results.
They also suggested that further studies should be conducted to verify whether milk formulas are effective or not.
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The study was published in BMJ on March 9th.