An elemental diet may be recommended if a child has severe symptoms, if all food allergy testing was negative or if previous treatment options have been unsuccessful. When following this diet, all regular foods and beverages are removed from the child’s diet and special formulas are used to meet the child’s nutritional needs.
Elemental formulas contain proteins that have been completely broken down into their simplest form, amino acids. The formulas are designed to meet the full nutritional needs of the growing child without triggering the child’s EoE symptoms. At CHOC Children’s, we recommend the following formulas to our patients: Neocate Infant, Neocate Junior (unflavored, vanilla, chocolate and tropical), EO28 Splash, Neocate Nutra (semi-solid), Elecare and Elecare Jr (unflavored and vanilla).
Although it may be difficult to follow, research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology has shown the majority of children (95-98%) get better on the elemental diet. Patients stay on the elemental diet for approximately six weeks. If a repeat endoscopy shows that the esophagus has healed, food can be reintroduced. Learn more about food reintroduction.
We understand that the thought of putting a child on an elemental diet may seem daunting, but the entire team at the CHOC Children’s Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic are with families every step of the way and have put together the following resources: