GINI study supports long-term effect of early nutrition on eczema

Published Online: March 18, 2013

For infants with an increased risk for allergies, infant formulas based on cow milk protein hydrolyzate are widely recommended in the first 4-6 months of life in cases of insufficient breast feeding. However, the long-term impact of hydrolyzed formulas on the development of allergic diseases is uncertain. The effect of different hydrolyzed formulas has been longitudinally studied by von Berg et al. in the prospective, randomised double-blind German Infant Nutritional Intervention study (GINI). From 1995 until 1998, 2,252 newborns with a familial risk for atopic diseases were recruited to randomly receive one of three hydrolyzate formulas (partial or extensive whey or extensive hydrolyzed casein hydrolyzate) or a standard cow milk formula for the first 4 months as a supplement to breast feeding if necessary.

At the 10 year follow-up, published in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), the authors observed a reduced cumulative risk of developing atopic eczema in children which received as infants the extensively hydrolyzed casein and the partially hydrolyzed whey hydrolyzate compared to those receiving standard cow’s milk formula. The preventive effect of early nutritional intervention has developed during infancy and persisted during preschool until school age. During the 10 year follow up no significant effect was observed on asthma or allergic rhinitis. The authors conclude that these data support the use of hydrolyzate formulas as supplement to breastfeeding in order to reduce the burden of eczema in high risk infants.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

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