Many parents turn to infant formula for they believe that it will save their babies from allergies, asthma, type-1 diabetes and even eczema. However, a new study says it won't.
The "hydrolyzed" infant formulas were reviewed and show no good evidence that they can protect the children from autoimmune disorders, as reported by US News.
"We found no consistent evidence to support a protective role for partially or extensively hydrolyzed formula," concluded a team led by Robert Boyle of Imperial College London in England.
"Our findings conflict with current international guidelines, in which hydrolyzed formula is widely recommended for young formula-fed infants with a family history of allergic disease," the study authors added.
Another expert from the United States stated that the finding throws suspicion these special formulas might be useless.
"Allergies and autoimmune diseases [such as asthma and type-1 diabetes] are on the rise and it would be nice if we did have a clear route to preventing them," said Dr. Ron Marino, associate chair of pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. "Unfortunately, despite U.S. Food and Drug Administration support [for hydrolyzed formula], the data are not compelling," he added.
The paper also shows conflicts of interest in many of the research and this is due to financial links with the infant formula manufacturers, News.com.au reported.
According to Boyle, even top brands including SMA Comfort and Aptamil Comfort offer no protection for infants at risk of allergy. Despite parents being advised that special infant formulas may alleviate the risk of conditions such as eczema and milk allergy, no evidence was found to support the claims.
He also stated that aside from finding no evidence of reduced risk from "hydrolyzed" formula, they also found that there are only a few studies that are methodologically sound and not biased.
Professor Jo Leonardi-Bee, senior statistician on the study from the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham, added that their research shows that there was evidence that the publications are biased. Some of the studies that showed formula milk will not really cut allergies may not have been published.
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