Dr. Victoria Martin, MD, MPH, found that 17% of infants meet the criteria for Cow’s Milk Allergy as part of her groundbreaking study, Prospective Assessment of Pediatrician-Diagnosed Food Protein-Induced Allergic Proctocolitis by Gross or Occult Blood (2020). This shows that Cow’s Milk Allergy (also known as FPIAP) is a much larger problem than previously thought, as earlier estimates marked its prevalence between 0.25% and 5%, which is much less common than what pediatricians are actually diagnosing today. Since most infant formulas are made out of cow’s milk, this means that formulas can trigger allergic reactions for more than 1 out of every 6 babies.
Dr. Martin’s Study is part of the larger Gastrointestinal Microbiome and Allergic Proctocolitis study, which includes 903 healthy infants from a suburban Massachusetts pediatric clinic. The study’s Researchers reviewed the symptoms recorded by the infants’ pediatricians and concluded that 153 of the 903 infants met the requirements for Cow’s Milk Allergy, which included a Cow’s Milk Allergy diagnosis from their pediatrician as well as blood in their stool that could not be attributed to other causes. It is possible that the rate of Cow’s Milk Allergy is even higher than their findings, as it can occur without the blood in their stool, but the research team needed a clear and common symptom of the allergy in order to concretely define their inclusion criteria. Because of this, it is possible that a Cow’s Milk Allergy prevalence of 17% is actually a conservative estimate, and the reality may be higher.
Her study also found that “Infants initially fed both breast milk and formula were 61% less likely to develop FPIAP (CMA) compared with those exclusively formula-fed” (2020), showing that breast milk components may actually help with the prevention of Cow’s Milk Allergy.
Harmony is honored to have Dr. Martin as one of our main advisors. She is a leading expert in pediatric food allergies and hypoallergenic infant formula, serving as Co-Director for the Food Allergy Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and as a professor at Harvard Medical School.
If you suspect your child is suffering from Cow’s Milk Allergy or any other health issue, the best thing to do is to contact a doctor right away for a professional diagnosis and medical guidance.
Learn more about Cow’s Milk Allergy in our page, Cow’s Milk is for Calves.
Martin, V. M., Virkud, Y. V., Seay, H., Hickey, A., Ndahayo, R., Rosow, R., Southwick, C., Elkort, M., Gupta, B., Kramer, E., Pronchick, T., Reuter, S., Keet, C., Su, K.-W., Shreffler, W. G., & Yuan, Q. (2020). Prospective assessment of pediatrician-diagnosed food protein–induced allergic proctocolitis by gross or occult blood. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 8(5), 1692–1699. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2019.12.029