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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 May;10(3):360-5.

Soy protein for infant feeding: what do we know?

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Lille University Children's Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre, 2 avenue Oscar Lambret, 59037 Lille cedex, France.



This review discusses the safety, nutritional adequacy and recommendations for use of soy protein formulae, based mainly on the most relevant reports published during 2005 and 2006.


Concerns have recently been raised regarding potential risks with soy protein formulae, in particular regarding their high phytoestrogenic isoflavone content. Recent data are insufficient to draw definitive conclusions on safety, but authorities and paediatric societies from several countries recently advised health professionals to use soy protein formulae only in certain cases. Indications for use of soy protein formulae, mainly for prevention and management of food allergy, have also been better defined.


Soy protein formulae ensure normal growth and development in healthy term infants but they have no nutritional advantages over cow's milk protein formulae. Main indications include severe lactose intolerance, galactosaemia and need to avoid foods of animal origin. Soy protein formulae have no role in preventing allergy or in management of nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. infantile colic and regurgitation). They should not be used in preterm infants or infants with food allergy before age 6 months. After 6 months, soy protein formulae may be considered if tolerance to soy protein is established.

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