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Hypoallergenic Baby Formula May Have No Benefits

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hypoallergenic baby formulaParents are often counseled to feed their babies hypoallergenic formula if they are worried about developing allergies, but a new study in Australia is casting doubts on this advice.

The study followed more than 600 infants with family histories of allergies to determine whether feeding them a hypoallergenic formula would have any impact on their developing allergies or related conditions such as asthma and eczema. The children were given skin-prick allergy tests at 6, 12 and 24 months of age, and another follow up was conducted when they reached 6 or 7 years.

Researchers found that it made no difference whether the children had been given standard cow's milk-based formula, soy-based formula, or a hypoallergenic partially hydrolysed whey formula (pHWF) produced by Nestle. All study groups were just as likely to develop allergies.

Adrian Lowe and David Hill, who led the study, said that these findings contradict common medical advice that special formulas can help prevent allergies, and that the best advice is still to breast feed rather than formula feed if possible. "Families at high risk of allergies should be encouraged to breast feed for the many known benefits associated with breastfeeding, and if parents need to move on to formula that that decision need not be based on the belief that one formula will reduce the risk of allergies compared to another," said Hill.

Just goes to show that fancy labels and impressive claims do not necessarily make a product healthier or better.

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