The majority (~75%) of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively heated-(baked-) milk products. Long-term effects of inclusion of dietary baked-milk have not been reported.
We report on the outcomes of children who incorporated baked-milk products into their diets.
Children evaluated for tolerance to baked-milk (muffin) underwent sequential food challenges to baked-cheese (pizza) followed by unheated-milk. Immunologic parameters were measured at challenge visits. The comparison group were matched to active subjects (using age, sex, and baseline milk-specific IgE) to evaluate the natural history of tolerance development.
Over a median of 37 months (range 8-75 months), 88 children underwent challenges at varying intervals (range 6-54 months). Among 65 subjects initially tolerant to baked-milk, 39 (60%) now tolerate unheated-milk, 18 (28%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese and 8 (12%) chose to avoid milk strictly. Among the baked-milk-reactive subgroup (n=23), 2 (9%) tolerate unheated-milk, 3 (13%) tolerate baked-milk/baked-cheese, while the majority (78%) avoid milk strictly. Subjects who were initially tolerant to baked-milk were 28 times more likely to become unheated-milk-tolerant compared to baked-milk-reactive subjects (P<.001). Subjects who incorporated dietary baked-milk were 16 times more likely than the comparison group to become unheated-milk-tolerant (P<.001). Median casein IgG4 levels in the baked-milk-tolerant group increased significantly (P<.001); median milk IgE values did not change significantly.
Tolerance of baked-milk is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy whereas reactivity to baked-milk portends a more persistent phenotype. The addition of baked-milk to the diet of children tolerating such foods appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
Addition of dietary baked-milk is safe, convenient, and well-accepted by patients. Prescribing baked-milk products to milk-allergic children represents an important shift in the treatment paradigm for milk allergy.
The majority of cow's milk-allergic children tolerate extensively baked-milk products, which is a marker of transient IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy. Dietary baked-milk appears to accelerate development of unheated-milk tolerance compared to strict avoidance.
Keywords: cow's milk allergy, milk allergy, tolerance, extensively heated, baked, immunotherapy, immunomodulation