No evidence soy formulas cut allergy risk

Oct. 20, 2006 at 10:28 AM
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SYDNEY, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Australian researchers find that although soy infant formulas are used to avoid food allergies, there is no proof that soy formulas cut allergy risk.

"There is no evidence that using any type of formula is better than exclusive breastfeeding for prevention of allergy," said study authors Dr. David Osborn of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Dr. John Sinn of Westmead Hospital.

"Specialized formulas should be restricted to situations where infants cannot exclusively breastfeed or when an infant develops a specific food allergy or hypersensitivity."

The researchers analyzed three studies that compared formulas for prolonged infant feeding. The enrollment size of each was considered small -- with the combined number of infants totaling 875.

The studies followed infants up to age 10 and found there was no significant benefit from the use of a soy formula compared to a cow's milk formula, according to the review published in The Cochrane Library.

The review supported previous evidence that mothers who choose to only breastfeed their infants for at least six months reduce the incidence of allergy, according to Osborn.

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