Dietary interventions for primary allergy prevention in infants

Hippokratia 2011; 15 (3): 216-222

A. Mavroudi, I. Xinias


Allergy prevention remains a vexing problem. Food sensitization frequently occurs early in life and is often the first sign of future atopic disease. Therefore, interventions to prevent food allergies and the development of the atopic phenotype are best made early in life. The results of studies regarding the effects of breast-feeding and the prevention of allergy remain inconclusive. Several factors in breast milk either induce or protect against food allergies. Probiotic and prebiotic supplemented whey hydrolysate formulas need further research in order to determine the future of this intervention in the prevention of food allergies. Several dietary manipulations in infancy, such as prolonged breast feeding, maternal avoidance diets during pregnancy and lactation, the use of hypoallergenic formulas, have been proposed as ways of altering the Th1/Th2 balance in infants, with varying degrees of success. Studies have examined whether food atopy can be prevented by controlling the intake of highly allergenic foods by a high-risk infant from a variety of sources, that is, both direct ingestion and indirect ingestion through the breast milk. The previous studies showed that in high risk infants who are unable to be completely breast fed, there is evidence that prolonged feeding with a hydrolysed formula compared to a cow’s milk formula reduces infant and childhood allergy and infant cow’s milk allergy ,while other studies reported that an antigen avoidance diet for high risk mothers is unlikely to reduce the atopic diseases in their children substantially, and that such a diet may adversely affect maternal and/or fetal nutrition.