The content you are trying to access is exclusive for healthcare professional.


Are you a healthcare professional?



The following content is restricted for healthcare professionals only.
You will be redirected.
The following content is restricted for consumers only.
You will be redirected.
Cows’ Milk Allergy

Could it be cows’ milk protein allergy?


Between 2-7.5% of infants have cows’ milk allergy symptoms. Symptoms are often treated in isolation without understanding the underlying cause.

 

SOURCE: Althera Alfamino slides FINAL. Luyt. Clinical & Experimental Allergy 2014. 44: 642-672.

Cows’ milk protein allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children.

 

Although cows’ milk protein is one of the most common food allergies in babies and toddlers it can be difficult to diagnose. Cows’ milk protein allergy occurs when a baby’s immune system reacts negatively to the proteins in cows’ milk. If breastfed, the child can react to the cow’s milk protein ingested by the mother and passed to the child through the breast milk. If formula-fed, the child can react to the milk protein in the formula. In both cases the body’s immune system sees these proteins as foreign and in an effort to protect itself, the body releases natural substances, such as histamines, which cause the milk allergy symptoms that your baby might be experiencing.

 

Cows’ milk protein allergy generally occurs for the first time between the third and fifth month of life in affected children, but the milk allergy can also develop later in life.


AVAILABLE SOLUTIONS

Specialised solutions are available

After diagnosing your patient with cows’ milk protein allergy, you may recommend a strict cows’ milk protein free diet for the breastfeeding mother or a special milk formula for infants and young children with food allergies. If breastfeeding is not an option, two types of formula are particularly recommended for infants with cows’ milk protein allergy.

 

After diagnosing your patient with cows’ milk protein allergy, you may recommend a strict cows’ milk protein free diet for the breastfeeding mother or a special formula for infants and young children with food allergies. If breastfeeding is not an option, two types of formula are particularly recommended for infants with cows’ milk protein allergy.

In extensively hydrolysed formulas (eHF), the allergy-triggering substances in cow’s milk, the proteins, are broken down into small pieces by a process called hydrolysis. As a result, they are less allergenic than whole milk formulas and may be tolerated by most children with soy or cows’ milk protein allergy.

An amino acid-based formula (AAF) is manufactured from synthetic, free amino acids that constitute the most elemental non-allergenic building blocks of proteins and therefore do not contain any intact protein or peptides derived from milk. They are therefore recommended when a baby does not tolerate an extensively hydrolysed formula or when the baby has severe and complicated milk allergy symptoms

 


Lactose intolerance in children is not the same as cows’ milk protein allergy.

Cows’ milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance are often confused. Although some symptoms such as diarrhoea, are similar, lactose intolerance in children is an inability to digest the lactose found in both cows’ milk whereas cows’ milk protein allergy is an immune reaction to certain proteins within these milks. Lactose intolerance is extremely rare before 3 years of age, even in those with cows’ milk protein allergy. After all, breast milk naturally contains a high amount of lactose.


Food allergy or non-allergic food hypersensitivity?

Food allergies in children and non-allergic food hypersensitivities can present a real challenge. Until a diagnosis is reached, the process for parents, children and healthcare professionals can be a long and painful one.

Non-allergic food hypersensitivities, such as food intolerances, arise because the body is unable to digest or reacts to certain naturally occurring component of foods, i.e., lactose or fructose, or, less commonly, food colouring, additives or preservatives. Non-allergic food hypersensitivities do not involve the immune system and are much more common than food allergies.

Food allergies arise due to the body’s immune system reacting to certain, normally harmless, allergy-triggering substances (allergens) in food. These allergens are almost always proteins. Proteins are one of the essential nutrients that make up the body, together with vitamins and minerals plus carbohydrates and fat. Other components in food, such as lactose and sugar, do not act as allergens.

Certain allergens can cause a more severe reaction than others. Here are the top eight allergens accounting for approximately 90 percent of all allergic reactions to food in children.



The prevalence of food allergies, especially in the first years of life, has increased dramatically in the last 10 years or so. The challenge to find better ways to prevent and manage food allergy symptoms is a pressing one.



THE NESTLE HEALTH SCIENCE RANGE OF TAILOR MADE SOLUTIONS
Althera ®, hypoallergenic extensively hydrolysed whey based formula for the dietary management of mild to moderate cows’ milk allergy. Alfamino®, hypoallergenic amino acid formula for the dietary management of moderate to complex cows’ milk allergy. Discover our products