There are several causes of infantile colic. The aim of this study was to evaluate, under controlled conditions, whether bovine whey proteins can elicit symptoms of infantile colic in colicky formula-fed infants. The mean age for entering the study was 6.4 weeks and the mean age for colic debut was 3.7 weeks. In 24 of 27 infants with severe colic, the symptoms disappeared when they were given a cow's milk-free diet (Nutramigen). These 24 infants were entered into a double-blind crossover study. The infants (receiving cow's milk-free diet) were given the contents of identical capsules with each meal during day 6. The same procedure was repeated on day 10. The capsules contained either whey protein powder (with Nutramigen added) or human albumin powder (with Nutramigen added). Eighteen infants receiving the whey protein-containing capsules reacted with colic, two infants receiving placebo reacted with colic (P< .001), and four infants did not react at all. Crying hours per day for the 24 infants were 5.6 hours for formula-fed infants and 0.7 hour for cow's milk-free diet-fed infants (P< .001). Crying hours per day were 3.2 hours for the infants receiving whey protein capsules and 1.0 hour for those receiving placebo (P< .001). In conclusion, bovine whey protein can elicit symptoms of infantile colic in colicky formula-fed infants.

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