Special formulas for allergy to proteins in cow’s milk

Patients with an allergy to cow’s milk proteins are usually prescribed a preparation to replace the milk. There are various preparations we can describe.


  • Extensively hydrolysed cow’s milk protein formulas:

Proteins from milk are treated by hydrolysis to eliminate the peptides of larger molecular weight and in this way the ability to produce allergy is significantly reduced. These predigested proteins are easily absorbed. The taste and smell of these hydrolysates is unpleasant for adults due to the amount of sulfur-containing amino acids.

  • Plant based milks:

Soya milk is a good choice as a replacement formula. It has no common proteins from cow’s milk so does not produce a cross-reaction with it, but is not usually given to infants to avoid becoming allergic to soy itself, which already has an increased risk of food sensitization.

  • Elemental formulas:

These are made from synthetic amino acids, without causing allergy. They taste worse and have a higher cost. These formulas are indicated when a protein hydrolysate of cow’s milk cannot be used, nor soy formula, and also in multiallergies. In Spain, these special formulas are subsidized by the Social Security System up to two years of age. From this age, according to the child’s history and the area responsible for authorisation, this grant is extended or not given.

Never choose or change special formula without consulting an allergy specialist, since in each case one or another may be more advisable, depending on various factors such as age, type of symptoms, or to what specific proteins the child is most sensitive to.

  • Hypoallergenic milk formulas:

They are not appropriate for children allergic to cow’s milk proteins, as their proteins have a sufficiently high molecular weight to produce allergy.

Hypoallergenic milk formulas are usually used to prevent development of allergy in atopic children. Also to control diarrheal diseases and digestive intolerance in infants.

In the case of allergy to milk proteins, highly hydrolysed cow’s milk, soya milk or elemental formulas are recommended.

Allergy recommendations index.



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