Soy-protein based infant formulas have been used in the past to treat infants who have food allergies or intolerances. This raises the possibility that soy formulas might prevent food allergies in children at high-risk, such as an infant with family history of allergy.
But a recent review of the available literature concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that soy formulas are any more effective in preventing allergies than formula based on cow's milk.
In addition, the research showed that there was more risk of developing allergies if a soy formula was used rather than a hydrolysed protein formula.
"Feeding with a soy formula should not be recommended for the prevention of allergy or food intolerance in infants at high risk (for these conditions)," write the researchers from the Westmead Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library Newsletter (Issue 3, 2004).