Hydrolyzed Rice Protein-Based Formulas, a Vegetal Alternative in Cow's Milk Allergy

Nutrients. 2020 Aug 31;12(9):2654. doi: 10.3390/nu12092654.


Formulas adapted to infant feeding, although most of the time made from cow's milk proteins, can be made from hydrolyzed rice protein but they must be classified as "formulas for specific medical needs", according to European regulations. The nutritional quality of rice proteins is thus suitable to be used in infant formulas giving that it is supplemented by certain amino acids which can be lacking. Besides, hydrolysis is required to facilitate their water solubility and digestibility. Owing to a low allergenicity of rice and to the absence of the cross-allergy between milk proteins and rice proteins, these formulas are adapted to the diet of children with cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA), which explains their growing use in some countries. However, CMPA, an expanding disorder, has consequences for growth, bone mineralization, and often has an association with allergy to other foods, including cow's milk extensive hydrolysate, so that a surveillance of the adaption of hydrolyzed rice protein formulas (HRPF) to CMPA, the absence of unexpected side effects, and the appropriate response to its various health hazards seems mandatory. This paper analyses the health problem deriving from CMPA, the industrial development of hydrolyzed rice protein formulas, and the limited number of clinical studies, which confirms, at the moment, a good allergic tolerance and safety. The goal is to better advise heath care professionals on their use of HRPFs during CMPA.

Keywords: children; cow’s milk allergy; hydrolyzed protein; rice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Animals
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients / deficiency
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / immunology
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Milk Proteins / adverse effects
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances


  • Amino Acids
  • Micronutrients
  • Milk Proteins
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary