Amino acid-based formula
An amino acid-based formula, also known as an elemental formula, is a type of hypoallergenic infant formula made from individual amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and together they form the protein requirements in formula needed for growth and development. The amino acids are in the simplest form, making it easy for the body to process and digest. Neocate, EleCare, and Nutramigen AA are the more commonly encountered brands of amino acid-based formula in the US.
Because infants and children have different nutritional needs, amino acid-based formulas are typically formulated either for infants 0–1 years of age or for children 1–10 years of age.
Amino acid-based formulas are most commonly indicated for:
- Milk or soy protein allergy
- Multiple food protein intolerance
- Food protein allergy-induced: Eosinophilic esophagitis and Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Other medical conditions requiring an amino acid-based diet, such as: Short bowel syndrome and Transition from parenteral to enteral nutrition
Unlike milk-based, soy-based, and hydrolysate formulas, amino acid-based formulas fall under the FDA classification of exempt infant formulas or medical foods. Therefore, 11 states currently require that insurance companies reimburse families for amino acid-based formulas. The states are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. The details of each law are different.
Some families may also qualify for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or private assistance programs.