Avoiding cow’s milk formula (CMF) supplementation at birth may prevent asthma or recurrent wheeze in young children, according to a study published online Oct. 2 in JAMA Network Open.
Hiroshi Tachimoto, M.D., Ph.D., from Jikei University School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues randomly assigned newborns to breastfeeding with or without amino acid-based elemental formula for at least the first three days of life (no-CMF group) or breastfeeding supplemented with CMF (≥5 mL/d) from the first day of life to 5 months of age (CMF group). The analysis included 302 infants followed through age 2 years.
The researchers found that asthma or recurrent wheeze developed in 9.9 percent of the children in the no-CMF group and 17.9 percent of children in the CMF group. When stratifying participants by vitamin D levels, among those with levels above the median at 5 months of age, 6.4 percent of children in the no-CMF group developed asthma or recurrent wheeze versus 24.6 percent in the CMF group. In the highest quartile of total immunoglobulin E (IgE) at 24 months, asthma or recurrent wheeze developed in 5.3 percent of children in the no-CMF group versus 43.8 percent in the CMF group.
“The findings of this study suggest that avoiding CMF supplementation in the first three days of life has the potential to reduce the risk of asthma or recurrent wheeze in young children, especially among those with high vitamin D or high IgE levels,” the authors write.