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Cow’s Milk-Based Beverage Consumption in 1- to 4-Year-Olds and Allergic Manifestations: an RCT

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Department, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

Clinical Research, Department of Medical Affairs, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Evansville, Indiana

Pontes MV, Ribeiro TCM, Ribeiro H, de Mattos AP, Almeida IR, Leal VM, Cabral GN, Stolz S, Zhuang W, Scalabrin DMF. (2016)

Nutrition Journal 15:19-28.


Background: Nutrients such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), prebiotics and β-glucan have been associated with reduced incidence of respiratory illnesses and allergic manifestations (AM). Our objective was to assess if consumption of a cow’s milk-based beverage with these and other nutrients supports respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin health in otherwise well-nourished, healthy children.

Methods: In this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, healthy children (1–4 years of age) from two daycare centers in Brazil were fed three servings/day of a cow’s milk-based beverage (CMBB; n = 125) containing DHA, the prebiotics polydextrose (PDX) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), β-glucan, and other key nutrients, or a control cow’s milk-based beverage (control; n = 131) for up to 28 weeks.Occurrence of respiratory infections, diarrheal disease and AM was assessed by study pediatricians and the number of episodes were analyzed with the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test and the Andersen-Gill model.

Results: The CMBB group had fewer episodes of AM, which included allergic rhinitis or conjunctivitis, wheezing, allergic cough, eczema and urticaria, compared to the control group (p = 0.021). The hazard ratio for increased number of episodes of AM was lower in the CMBB group compared to control (HR, 0.64; 95 % CI 0.47–0.89; p = 0.007). There was no difference in the incidence of respiratory infections and diarrheal disease between groups.

Conclusion: A cow’s milk-based beverage containing DHA, PDX/GOS, and yeast β-glucan, and supplemented with micronutrients, including zinc, vitamin A and iron, when consumed 3 times/day for 28 weeks by healthy 1- to 4-year-old children was associated with fewer episodes of allergic manifestations in the skin and the respiratory tract.
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