Whey Protein Formula Reduces Risk of Atopic Dermatitis

May 6/Pediatrics Week -- "A reduced risk of atopic dermatitis (AD) among healthy infants who received 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula (PHF-W) compared with intact protein cow's milk formula (CMF) has been reported in several studies. To validate these observations and estimate the magnitude of this potential association with greater statistical precision, we conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trial and intervention studies," scientists writing in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition report.

"A total of 18 articles representing 12 independent study populations met our inclusion criteria. A statistically significant 44% (summary relative risk estimate [SRRE] 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.40-0.77) reduced risk of atopic manifestations, which included AD, was found among infants receiving PHF-W compared with infants receiving CMF. In a subanalysis of four studies that reported results specifically for AD and that were considered of superior methodological quality, the incidence of AD was reduced by 55% (SRRE 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.30-0.70). Regardless of study design, infant population, follow-up time or study location, individual study findings were consistent because a reduced incidence of AD was reported in all of the reviewed studies. Exclusive breast-feeding should be encouraged as the standard for infant nutrition in the first months of life," wrote D.D. Alexander and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "For infants who are not exclusively breast-fed, feeding with PHF-W instead of CMF reduces the risk of AD in infants, particularly in infants with a family history of allergy."

Alexander and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition ("Partially Hydrolyzed 100% Whey Protein Infant Formula and Reduced Risk of Atopic Dermatitis: A Meta-analysis." Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2010;50(4):422-430).

Additional information can be obtained by contacting D.D. Alexander, Exponent Inc., 185 Hansen Ct, Suite 100, Wood Dale, IL 60191.

From the May 10, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition