Soya baby formulae don't prevent allergy and food intolerance

Allergy and food intolerance in children can be caused by a number of foods, including cow's milk products. In the case of children who have one parent or a sibling with an allergy, three out of ten are likely to develop an allergy themselves. The risk rises to seven out of ten if both parents are affected.

Infant feeding options

Of the several options for feeding babies, breast-feeding offers the
highest chance of avoiding the development of an allergy. Other options include regular cow's milk-based formulae, soy-based formulae and hydrolysed formulae.

In the case of hydrolysed products, the protein content, be it milk, soya or collagen, has been broken down into its constituent parts,
making it difficult for the body to recognise the source of that protein and thus reducing the possibility of triggering an allergic reaction.

Hydrolised protects

In a study reported in Issue 3 of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2004, hydrolised formulae were shown to have a protective effect, with babies fed on them being less likely to develop an allergy than those fed on a soy formula.

Soya formula does not...

However, a review of five trials involving ordinary soya formula, which included a total of 1,000 babies at higher risk of allergy or food intolerance, revealed no evidence to suggest that regular soya formulae were any more protective against developing eczema or asthma than ordinary cow's milk formulae, and there were even some reports suggesting that soya formulae had led to babies developing an allergy to soya.


First Published September 2006

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