Amino Acid-based Formula in Cow's Milk Allergy: Long-term Effects on Body Growth and Protein Metabolism

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Apr;64(4):632-638. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001337.


Objectives: The long-term effects of amino acid-based formula (AAF) in the treatment of cow's milk allergy (CMA) are largely unexplored. The present study comparatively evaluates body growth and protein metabolism in CMA children treated with AAF or with extensively hydrolyzed whey formula (eHWF), and healthy controls.

Methods: A 12-month multicenter randomized control trial was conducted in outpatients with CMA (age 5-12 m) randomized in 2 groups, treated with AAF (group 1) and eHWF (group 2), and compared with healthy controls (group 3) fed with follow-on (if age <12 months) or growing-up formula (if age >12 months). At enrolment (T0), after 3 (T3), 6 (T6), and 12 months (T12) a clinical evaluation was performed. At T0 and T3, in subjects with CMA serum levels of albumin, urea, total protein, retinol-binding protein, and insulin-like growth factor 1 were measured.

Results: Twenty-one subjects in group 1 (61.9% boys, age 6.5 ± 1.5 months), 19 in group 2 (57.9% boys, age 7 ± 1.7 months) and 25 subjects in group 3 (48% boys, age 5.5 ± 0.5 months) completed the study. At T0, the weight z score was similar in group 1 (-0.74) and 2 (-0.76), with differences compared to group 3 (-0.17, P < 0.05). At T12, the weight z score value was similar between the 3 groups without significant differences. There were no significant changes in protein metabolism in children in groups 1 and 2.

Conclusion: Long-term treatment with AAF is safe and allows adequate body growth in children with CMA.

Trial registration: NCT02379598.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Body Height
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula*
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diet therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain
  • Whey*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins

Associated data