Partially Hydrolized Formula as Standard Infant Formula: Digging the Evidence
Department of Child Health, dr Mohammad Hoesin HospitalFaculty of Medicine Sriwijaya University
Partially hydrolized formula (pHF) is not categorized as hypoallergenic formula. Some studies suggest that pHFs can be used as prevention and reduce the risk of allergies. Therefore, pHFs are widely marketed in Indonesia and some are claimed to be hypoallergenic formulas. Current use of pHFs is often aimed at healthy infants with low allergic risk or with suspicion of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGDs).
Articles searched, include clinical trials, reviews and meta-analysis, on PubMed with partially hydrolized protein formula as keyword, and were limited to English-language articles published in the past 10 years. The author also conducted restriction on clinical trials aimed at comparing the effects of breast milk, standard cow's milk formula and pHFs on various allergic or other health conditions.
Many clinical trials aimed at identifying the effects of breast milk and infant formula on allergic manifestations were only performed on high-risk allergic infants with atopy in first-degree relatives. In those infants the prevention of allergic events such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergies, Atopic Dermatitis (AD) and Eczema could be done by exclusive breastfeeding for 4-6 months. For non-exclusive breastfed babies, studies showed inconsistent result. Some concluded that administration of pHFs showed only significant preventive effects on AD or Eczema. Longitudinal studies showed only whey-based pHFs (pHF-W) that significantly had a preventive effect until the follow-up of the tenth year. While other studies found no significant effect of giving pHFs for such conditions compared to standard formula. There was no valid study of the benefits of pHFs against FGDs.
The administration of pHFs is not recommended as standard infant formula in non-breastfed infants in Indonesia because of inconsistent and controversial scientific evidences.
Disclaimer: The Views and opinions expressed in the articles are of the authors and not of the journal.
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