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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Dec;89(6 Suppl 1):97-101.

Soy formulas and nonbovine milk.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.



Cow's milk allergy is frequently observed during the first year of life when nutritional requirements are critical. In those cases where breast-feeding is not available, a safe and adequate substitute to cow's milk should be offered.


The primary aim of this review is to evaluate the clinical use of milk derived from vegetable proteins, such as soy, or from animals such as goat, mare, or donkey, or elemental diet in children with cow's milk allergy.


MEDLINE searches were conducted with key words such as soy, goat's milk, donkey's milk, mare's milk, and elemental diet. Additional articles were identified from references in books or articles. Original research papers and review articles from peer-reviewed journals were chosen.


Soy formulas are nutritionally adequate and can be used in children with immunoglobulin E-mediated nongastrointestinal manifestations of cow's milk allergy. Goat's milk is as allergenic as cow's milk. Mare's milk and donkey's milk may be used in selected cases of cow's milk allergy after appropriate modification to make them suitable for human infants. Elemental diets are usually restricted to the most severe cases of cow's milk allergy (ie, sensitivity to extensively hydrolyzed protein formulas).


Vegetable formulas obtained from soy and milk derived from other mammals, such as mare or donkey, homemade preparations, and elemental diet may represent valid alternatives for children with cow's milk allergy. Extensive clinical trials are needed on the safety profile of any alternative mammal-derived milk. The choice of alternative milk should take into account the clinical profile of the child allergic to cow's milk, particularly as concerns age, severity of symptoms, degree of sensitivity to cow's milk proteins, and any multiple food allergies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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