What is a “Super” Hypoallergenic Formula?


Posted 3.10.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions regarding the different types of hypoallergenic formulas that are out there. Often, babies with milk protein allergies will try several formulas before finding one that actually works. Here’s a run-down of formulas for you.

Hydrolysate Formula: Nutramigen and Alimentum are hydrolysate formulas. Although these formulas are hypoallergenic, the protein in these formulas is only partially broken down. Therefore, allergic reactions can still occur when on this formula.

Amino Acid-Based Formula: Around the office, this formula has been called “super” hypoallergenic, meaning it is made from individual non-allergenic amino acids, making it easy for babies to digest. Neocate and Elecare are both amino acid-based formulas, but only Neocate is manufactured in a 100% dairy free environment.

Sometimes, babies with symptoms of milk protein allergy are given a hydrolysate formula first to see if it works. If the baby is still sick after several weeks, the doctor then recommends switching to an amino acid-based formula. However, that can mean many weeks (that feel like an eternity!) of a sick, miserable, undernourished baby and exhausted, stressed out parents.

So, some doctors recommend starting with the amino acid-based formula – which they know will provide the baby with relief fast if he or she has milk protein allergy. If the baby does well on it (for infants with milk protein allergy, symptoms usually resolve within three days of starting Neocate), after a few weeks parents can try to transition the baby to a hydrolysate. If the Neocate doesn’t help the baby, that tells the doctor right away that it is not a milk protein allergy causing the baby’s symptoms and the medical team needs to do some more investigative work to find out what’s really wrong. If you have a baby recently diagnosed with milk protein allergy, talk to your doc about the best approach.

For more information on formulas, check out this blog entry that my fellow blogger posted a few months ago.

And if you think your little one might have a milk protein allergy, but hasn’t been diagnosed yet, make an appointment with your doctor and check out http://www.testforallergy.com/ — it’s a good educational resource for potential allergy parents.

Any questions? Let me know!

- Nita

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.