Donkey's milk: a study carried out on children allergic to cow's milk

In May 2003 a study started in Turin that, until today, involved 46 children allergic to cow's milk among whom 16 were also allergic to soya and 30 couldn't consume soya because contraindicated, all having one thing in common, the refusal of extensive hydrolysed formulas or those that are amino acid-based.

The children were aged from 12 months to 12 years, with however an average age of approximately2 years.  All the children were allergic to more than one food (milk, eggs, wheat, soya for the more typical) and it was consequently more important than ever to find them a substitute to cow's milk.

The study was carried out by doctors from the OIRM's food allergy consultation office in collaboration with the institute of the science of food production of the national research federation - manager Dr. Conti.

Donkey's milk was tolerated by 38 (82.6%) of these children, who appreciated it and who continued to ingest it without presenting clinical symptoms.  All the children were subject to regular auxological and nutritional type checks, which were revealed to comply with standards.

Laboratory research brought to light a few differences between Donkey's milk and cow's milk.

In particular, as Amedeo Conti, from Ispa-Cnr explains: During our studies, carried out with proteomics techniques aimed at determining the allergens of cow's milk and comparing it with other types of milk, we noticed a noteworthy difference in the composition between cow's milk and that of Donkey's milk. One difference – continues the expert – was based above all on the casein content and not that of beta-lactoglobulin, a protein wrongly considered to be responsible for the high allergenicity of this food. This would in short be the secret of Donkey's milk and the fact that it is tolerated so well by children with allergies is probably due to its great resemblance to human milk.

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Taken from "NOTIZIARIO" monthly newsletter from the Azienda Ospedaliera O.I.R.M. S. Anna from Turin (of European importance and specialising in mothers and infants)