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Nutr Rev. 2010 Apr;68(4):232-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00281.x.

Partially hydrolyzed 100% whey protein infant formula and atopic dermatitis risk reduction: a systematic review of the literature.

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Exponent Health Sciences Practice, Wood Dale, Illinois 60191, USA.


The incidence of atopic dermatitis (AD) is increasing worldwide. Clinical studies have observed reduced risks of AD among infants fed with 100% whey partially hydrolyzed infant formula (PHF-W) compared with intact protein cow's milk formula. To evaluate this potential relationship more comprehensively, a systematic review of the literature was conducted. Studies (n = 18, representing 12 distinct study populations) that specified the protein source of the formula, evaluated healthy-term infants, compared the use of PHF-W with intact protein cow's milk formula, and reported results for AD were included. A critical assessment of the methodological quality of studies was conducted. In all studies, a reduced incidence of AD and/or atopic manifestations that included AD was observed. The cumulative incidence of AD was significantly lower among infants over at least 3 years of follow-up in the PHF-W group compared with the intact protein cow's milk group. Exclusive breastfeeding should be encouraged as the primary means to prevent atopic risk. However, when infants are not exclusively breastfed, PHF-W may be considered an effective measure to potentially reduce the risk of developing AD.

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