Frequently Asked Questions
Who should use Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr.?
Please consult with your child’s physician, however anyone that has been prescribed or recommended to use an amino acid-based formula can use Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. Some reasons for needing an amino acid-based formula can include:
- Restricted diet for food allergies or intolerances
- Treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis
- Transition from TPN to enteral feedings
- Malabsorption Syndrome
- Short Bowel Syndrome
- Other conditions requiring amino acids for improved nutrition absoption
Can Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. be used by infants less than 1 year of age?
Please consult your child's physician for proper use. The nutritional profile of these products was designed for children 1 year of age and older.
Should Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. be taken by mouth or by feeding tube?
Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. can be given by mouth or through a feeding tube. Due to the unique properties of Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr., there are some special considerations related to using these formulas for tube feeding. For best results, please review the following considerations for tube feeding:
- Feeding Method: Both formulas may be given with bolus feeding or continuous feeding
- Size of Tube: A 6 French or larger tube may be used. Smaller-bore feeding tubes may result in clogging or errors.
- Feeding Pump: Recommend Moog Enteralite Infinity Pump. Use of other enteral feeding pumps may result in errors that shut down the pump and are therefore not recommended.
- Flushing: Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations as this is individualized based on patient needs
- Mixing Instructions:
- Measure required amount of water into clean, container with lid.
- Add prescribed amount of formula to container. Scoops should be level and unpacked.
- Cover container with lid and shake well until powder is fully dissolved.
- Shaking well is an important step to dissolving and mixing formula properly. Make sure to shake well prior to administering via feeding tube.
- Storage: Prepared formula can be kept for up to 24 hours when refrigerated. Consult healthcare provider for mixing instructions for larger volumes. While these are general recommendations, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding safe preparation and storage, proper formula administration, and water flushes.
Can Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. meet all my child's nutrition needs?
Yes, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. can be used to provide 100% of your child's nutrition needs or to supplement a restricted diet.
How much Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. does my child need to drink to meet vitamin and mineral needs?
Please consult your child’s physician for proper use.
How should I introduce my child to Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr.?
Changing formula can initially be a little difficult if your child has become accustomed to what they are using today. We tried to make the transition from EleCare Jr or similar amino acid-based formulas as easy as possible by offering similar tasting formulas. If transitioning from another amino acid-based formula, and your child does not accept the new formula initially, you may wish to blend your current formula with a similar flavored EquaCare Jr. or Essential Care Jr. formula. To minimize any minor taste differences, slowly increase the ratio of the new formula versus the old formula and your child will be on the path to full acceptance.
If Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr., will be your child’s first exposure to amino acid-based formulas, the transition may take several tries before your child fully accepts the new formula. If this is your child’s first experience with an amino acid-based formula, it is ok to mix it with an allowed beverage like rice milk. Be patient and have a positive spirit as you do not want your child to associate consuming formula with a negative experience.
We also suggest you read the answers to the questions below as they offer other ideas on how to add Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. in your child’s diet.
Can I freeze Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. after mixing?
Freezing is not recommended as it can reduce some of the nutrients in Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. However, you can add either formula powder to smoothies or shakes for a cold dessert option.
Can I cook or bake with Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr.?
We cannot guarantee the vitamin and mineral content of either EquaCare Jr. or Essential Care Jr. with heating/cooking. However, you can add either formula to cooked foods like soup or mashed potatoes once they are cool enough to eat. The amount you can add will depend on your child’s taste preferences. Left overs should be used within 24 hours just like mixed formula.
How long can Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. be stored?
When Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. are produced they have a shelf life of 12 months. Each can/pouch has an expiration date stamped on the bottom of the can/pouch, be sure to check before use. Store formula in a temperature-controlled space and not in the garage or in direct sunlight.
Once a pouch of Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. is opened, how long can it be used?
Upon opening a pouch of Essential Care Jr. or can EquaCare Jr., it should be used within one month.
How do you mix Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr.?
Standard mixing instructions for 30 kcal/fl oz are provided on each pouch of Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. However, as each patient has different nutrient requirements, it is important to follow any mixing instructions provided by your healthcare provider. If unsure of proper mixing, please consult your healthcare provider for support.
How long is Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. good once mixed?
When water is added to any formula powder you have 24 hours to use it. The mixed formula should be stored in the refrigerator. Formula is only safe at room temperature for four hours. If you are out and about, keep the formula in a small cooler bag on ice or a frozen gel pack. Discard any formula left after 24 hours and remix.
How much does one pouch of Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. make?
When mixed to the recommended standard dilution of 30 kcal/fl oz, each 400 g pouch makes approximately 63 oz.
If my child is drinking Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. how long can they sip on one serving?
Any powdered formula is only safe for up to one hour after starting a cup or bottle of formula. After one hour, discard any leftover formula and start a new serving.
If my child gets Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. through a feeding tube, how long can it hang?
All powdered formulas should hang for no more than 4 hours under standard tube-feeding conditions.
What size feeding tube (French size) is needed for Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr.?
A 6 French or larger feeding tube may be used, and it is important to follow the product mixing instructions provided on the package label. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding safe preparation and storage, proper formula administration, and water flushes.
What allergens are avoided with the use of Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr.?
Both formulas are free of the top eight allergens: egg, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts (including coconut), and wheat. In addition, unlike EleCare Jr, Neocate Junior and other amino acid-based formulas, Cambrooke, took the extra step we knew parents would want and we do not use corn syrup solids in Essential Care Jr. for those concerned with a possible reaction to corn.
How do you know Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. are hypoallergenic?
Ajinomoto Cambrooke Inc. adheres to strict manufacturing standards to ensure that EquaCare Jr. and Essential Care Jr. are hypoallergenic. All equipment is thoroughly cleaned and tested for the presence of allergens, using a lateral flow test, prior to beginning a new production run. To further ensure hypoallergenicity, the final formula is tested using ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing. Our testing detects the presence of milk, soy, egg, gluten, peanut and tree nut proteins.
My child is sensitive to corn, can they have either of your products?
We know some children are sensitive to corn, so we designed Essential Care Jr. to be free of any corn syrup solids and corn ingredients. It is rare not to find corn syrup in North American formulas, because corn is an easy and cheap form of carbohydrate. At Cambrooke, we want you to have a safe choice if your child needs to avoid corn, so we developed Essential Care Jr. without including corn or corn syrup solids in four great flavors.
Can Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. be used for my child with lactose intolerance?
Yes, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. are free of lactose.
My child has Galactosemia, can I use Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr.?
Yes, both formulas are galactose free.
Is Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. gluten free?
Yes, the ingredients in Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. are all free of the gluten protein. People with celiac disease can safely use both formulas.
Are Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. Kosher?
We are in the process of earning the approval of the Orthodox Union’s Kashruth Division. All other Cambrooke formulas are certified Kosher. This is a thorough process and takes time to complete. We will update our packaging as soon as we receive approval.
What are Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids?
Protein is essential for growth. It is required to build muscles, blood cells, skin, hair, hormones, enzymes and antibodies needed to fight infection. Without enough protein in the diet, the body would not grow or function properly.
Protein is made up of 20 different amino acids of which nine cannot be made by the body. As a result, these nine “Essential Amino Acids” must come from the foods we eat. The remaining 11 amino acids, called “Non-Essential”, can be made from the nutrients we have in our bodies.
If your child has a protein restricted diet, it may be difficult to know they are getting enough total protein and even more challenging to know if they are getting enough of the Essential Amino Acids found in protein. That is why we added more of these Essential Amino Acids into Essential Care Jr. than EleCare Jr, Neocate Junior and similar brands. Please read the question below to understand why.
Why would having more protein and Essential Amino Acids in Essential Care Jr. help my child?
Sometimes adding more is just a way to be different, but the higher levels of Essential Amino Acids in Essential Care Jr. are designed to give your child that extra boost they need. Essential Care Jr. has 26 to 31% more protein per calorie and 60 to 79% more of the essential amino acid building blocks per calorie than the other amino acid formulas on the market. This way with every sip of Essential Care Jr. your child gets more of the protein they may need to build muscles, blood cells, skin, hair, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies to help fight infection.
What are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)?
MCT is a type of fat that is easier for the body to absorb and used for energy. However, we still need long-chain fats that provide the essential fatty acids. In Essential Care Jr., 35% of the fat comes from more easily absorbed MCT. EquaCare Jr. is similar to all other amino acid-based formulas that are slightly lower in MCT at approximately 33% of total fat. Learn more below why more may be better.
Why would having more MCT in Essential Care Jr. help my child?
If your child’s GI tract has been injured or is not functioning properly, MCT can be absorbed without the need of digestive enzymes. MCT helps stimulate the bowel, improving symptoms of constipation. MCT is absorbed better than long chain fats when malabsorption is an issue. We added more MCT into Essential Care Jr. to provide your child with more of this added benefit.
What is DHA and why is it in Essential Care Jr.?
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a fatty acid found in breast milk that is important for the development of the brain. DHA is available in a variety of foods or can be made by our own bodies. DHA is most crucial during the first two years of life when the brain is rapidly developing but can be beneficial throughout our lives. We wanted to provide your child better options, especially during their development stages and that is why we included DHA in Essential Care Jr. EleCare Jr and Neocate Junior do not contain DHA.
Can people be allergic to DHA?
Because DHA is a fat, it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are caused by proteins in foods. When people have allergic reactions, it is a response to a protein, not a fat. The DHA in Essential Care Jr. is plant based instead of coming from fish oil.
Why are the carbohydrate sources in Essential Care Jr. different from those used in other amino acid formulas?
Many parents and physicians have asked for formulas without corn syrup solids. We listened and formulated Essential Care Jr. with low fermentable carbohydrates that may be easier to digest and no corn syrup solids. All other powdered amino acid-based formulas use corn syrup solids – in fact, over 50% of the contents of a can of Elecare Jr, Neocate Junior and similar brands is corn syrup solids.
What does low FODMAP mean?
Essential Care Jr. is an amino acid-based formula with low FODMAP ingredients. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols. Simply put, these are a group of carbohydrates (sugars) that are not completely digested or absorbed in the GI tract. In the small intestine, high FODMAP ingredients slowly move and absorb water. In the large intestine high FODMAP ingredients ferment quickly and may produce gas, bloating and GI pain. For those with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or those who just have a sensitive “gut”, high FODMAP ingredients can cause increased pain and discomfort.
We chose our ingredients in Essential Care Jr. carefully to avoid high FODMAP carbohydrates so that they may reduce gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. Neocate Junior with Prebiotics contains higher FODMAP fibers that may contribute to a higher potential for your child to be uncomfortable.
Why don’t Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. contain a probiotic?
There are several reasons. The most effective probiotics should be kept refrigerated or frozen at all times to retain their potency. Storage at room or elevated temperatures begins to render the probiotics ineffective. Would your freezer or refrigerator be big enough to store a month’s worth of formula and groceries? Probably not… Also, for those with an injured gut due to severe allergies, surgery or infections, probiotics can leak into other areas of your body where they shouldn’t grow and cause more discomfort. We think it best to have your child’s doctor decide if probiotics are needed and to recommend a specific type and specific dose that is best for your child based on his/her age, weight, and health status.
Does Essential Care Jr. contain any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors?
No! We don’t want our kids to have any artificial ingredients and figured you wouldn’t either. Unlike the other flavored formulas like EleCare Jr and Neocate Junior, we designed Essential Care Jr. so that it didn’t need any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. We worked a little harder to find allergen-free, all-natural sweeteners and flavors that we know your child will love without the artificial sweeteners.
Why is Lutein added to Essential Care Jr.?
Essential Care Jr. the first and only amino acid-based formula for children over the age of 1 with lutein. Here’s why we added it: Lutein is a super antioxidant naturally found in egg yolks, animal fats, and orange or green fruits and vegetables like carrots, kale and spinach. Frequently called “the Eye Vitamin”, lutein acts as a light filter to protect the eye tissues from sunlight damage. Adding lutein at an early age may provide protective benefits during eye development. We want your child’s eyes to be the best they can be.
What is Vitamin K2 and why is it in Essential Care Jr.?
Vitamin K2 is shown to improve bone quality leading to reduced risk of fractures. Clinical studies report that fracture risk is cut by 25% when Vitamin K2 is supplemented along with calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K1. Essential Care Jr. is the only amino acid-based brand to include all the elements of this bone-healthy blend.
What is Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) and why does it matter?
Our bodies work hard to keep our blood at a normal pH, meaning it is not too acidic or too basic. PRAL is an analytical measurement that estimates how a food or formula will impact the pH of blood. A positive PRAL score suggests an increase in the acidity of blood that must be neutralized by pulling calcium from the bones. Essential Care Jr. has the lowest and most negative PRAL score of all amino acid-based formulas. This is one time when being negative is a good thing as it allows calcium to stay put to help keep bones strong. When developing Essential Care Jr., we wanted to provide a better formula to meet even more of your child’s needs. If you would like to learn more about PRAL, please click on the link below.
Learn More (TODO link to PRAL information on website)
Where are Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. made?
Proud to be made in the USA. Both Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. are manufactured in the USA in Massachusetts where we are headquartered. And, 100% of our amino acids are produced in the USA and produced to pharmaceutical-grade standards.
If purchased today, how quickly can I get the formula?
Product shipping typically takes 2-5 business days, depending on your address location.
Will this help my toddler gain weight?
If your toddler has a medical condition like malabsorption or food allergies that is treated with an amino acid formula, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. may support their nutrition to promote weight gain.
Will this help my toddler sleep better?
If your toddler’s sleeping issues are because of GI discomfort or hunger with a restricted diet, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. may improve their sleep, because they are feeling better.
Will this help if milk or formula gives my toddler a rash?
If your toddler’s rash is due to a food allergy or intolerance, Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. may be indicated. Check with your pediatrician or board-certified allergist to determine the reason for your child’s rash.
Is this formula easier to digest than milk or milk-based formula?
It’s important to understand the differences between milk or milk-based formulas and an amino acid-based formula. In the picture below, milk is in the whole protein category, Essential Care Jr. or EquaCare Jr. fall in the amino acid category. Amino acids are the smallest building blocks of protein, are non-allergenic, and do not require digestion to be absorbed and used by the body.
The amino acids created by Ajinomoto are the purest in the world. You may notice the AJIPure™ logo on our products certifying we use the purest Amino Acids available. They are made from a state-of-the-art process using renewable fermentation of vegetables. No animal products, fillers or shortcuts are used when making the top of the line amino acids in Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. because we know only the best will do for your child.
Will this help if my toddler has acid reflux?
If your toddler’s reflux is due to food allergies or Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. might improve their symptoms. However, we strongly recommend checking with your pediatrician or a board-certified allergist to determine the underlying cause and best treatment for your child’s reflux.
Will this formula help if my toddler spits up often?
If your toddler’s spitting up is due to food allergies or Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Essential Care Jr. and EquaCare Jr. might improve their symptoms. However, we strongly recommend checking with your pediatrician or a board-certified allergist to determine the underlying cause of your child’s symptoms.
How does the formula taste?
Each child has a different taste palate. However, EquaCare Jr. has been taste tested and is very similar in taste to other amino acid-based formulas. And because EquaCare Jr. has a much lower price, transitioning to EquaCare Jr. is easier for both you and your child. Only Essential Care Jr. is flavored with no artificial sweeteners and tastes great with four flavor options.
How does Essential Care Jr. include additional value-added ingredients that other amino acid-based formulas do not have, yet still have a similar price to other brands?
We wanted to make a better formula for a similar price to other amino acid-based formulas like EleCare Jr and Neocate Junior. Our Ajinomoto Cambrooke team has over 40+ years of collective experience working with severe protein allergies and related conditions. We worked closely with GI health care professionals to understand and offer the latest and best ingredients to better care for all your child’s nutrition needs and not just address their allergy needs. That is why Essential Care Jr. is the only brand to include the most low FODMAP ingredients, Vitamin K2, lutein, and DHA to name a few. With all these value-added ingredients, our cost to make Essential Care Jr. is surely higher than the cost to make other formulas (the half can of corn syrup solids in other formulas costs less than a quarter!). But, part of our inspiration for creating better options for families living with severe protein allergies is the fact some of our own employees have children with severe protein allergies and we know firsthand the financial burden these products can have on a family. So, it meant more to us to hold the price of Essential Care Jr. to be similar to other amino acid formulas and less to worry about what we make from it.
Why does EquaCare Jr. cost less than EleCare Jr, Neocate Junior and PurAmino Jr. if it has a similar nutritional profile and similar taste?
Cambrooke was founded by parents who have children reliant on specialized medical nutrition formulas for life. We also have staff members whose children rely on specialized medical nutrition, including products for severe protein allergy. Our mission is to help all with these needs thrive and live beyond the constraints of their medical conditions. One more way to help is to offer a lower price on EquaCare Jr. despite it having a similar nutrition profile and similar taste to EleCare Jr, Neocate Junior and similar brands. Our costs are probably the same or higher as we are a smaller company. But, being small helps us stay true to our mission of doing all we can to help families in need. In fact, we have a robust patient assistance program called CAMBROOKEcare™ for those who need even more financial assistance to afford their formula.