A recent study has found Early exposure to allergy-causing foods reduces the risk of allergy.

Two new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have suggested that feeding babies with peanuts or other allergy-causing foods reduce the chance of allergy. One of the studies is a follow-up of an important research conducted in 2015.

It states that early prevention strategy can provide continuous and long-lasting results for children at risk for food allergies. In the second study, the research team found that prevention strategy could also work with eggs or any other food can cause allergy in young children. Food allergies are common, but sometimes they can prove deadly. As per researchers, these allergies are becoming more widespread in many nations. As per a data, around 2% of US children have peanut allergies.

The 2015 landmark study brought significant changes in the experts’ approach to preventing these allergies. Because it was the first one to show that early introduction of peanut can prevent the development of allergy. In fact, the study has led to new draft guidance. Now, the recommendations include giving at-risk peanut-containing foods by the time children are four to six months of age. The draft guidance is similar to the one issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups issued last year.

The new result suggests that early introduction of allergy-inducing foods results into tolerance in at-risk children, affirmed Dr. Stacy Dorris, an allergist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The second study involved 1,300 breastfed British children who were randomly assigned to have several types of allergy-inducing foods or just breast milk. The results were in support to first study. Dr. Gary Wong, a Hong Kong pediatrician said that food is not feasible in infants who are so young. “Evidence is really building up. It appears early introduction would be better off than avoidance “, affirmed Dr. Wong.

Babies introduced to potentially allergenic foods from three months had lower chance of developing allergy later in life. Scientists have found that introducing babies to peanuts, eggs and other potentially allergy-causing foods at an early age could prevent serious reactions later in life.

The study for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that children who were introduced to peanut and egg-white proteins from the age of three months had a lower chance of developing food allergies than those who were only introduced to them at six months old – but only if the recommended quantity of allergenic food was consumed. Scientists found that weekly consumption of the equivalent of approximately one-and-a-half teaspoons of peanut butter and one small boiled egg would lead to the prevention of an allergy to those food substances.

The research compared those infants who were breastfed and consumed allergenic foods from three months with those solely breastfed and given foods at six months. Dubbed Eat (Enquiring About Tolerance), the study – published in the New England Journal of Medicine – involved 1,303 three-month-old children from England and Wales who were randomly split into two groups. Mothers of children in the first group were asked to comply with current guidelines, which recommend that mothers breastfeed their children for the first six months of their lives before introducing them to allergenic foods if they so choose.

After testing their children for existing allergies, mothers of children in the second group were asked, in addition to breastfeeding, to introduce their offspring to six types of allergenic foods – cooked eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, fish and sesame – from the age of three months. Both groups were then tracked over the next three years to see if they developed any allergies to those foods between the ages of one and three years old. When the scientists looked at those mothers who had stuck strictly to the early introduction regime, the relative risk of developing a food allergy was 67% lower than for children who had just been breastfed to six months. More specifically, the results reveal that prevalence of egg allergies was far lower, with just 1.4% of those exposed to them from the age of three months developing an egg-allergy, compared with 5.5% of those who were breastfed to six months.

For peanuts the effect was even greater: none of the 310 children in the early introduction group developed a peanut allergy, versus 13 of the 525 children who developed an allergy having been introduced to them from the age of six months. However, early introduction to such foods only helped to avoid allergies later in life if the children were exposed to a sufficient amount of the potentially allergy-causing food. The authors conclude that a mean weekly consumption of 2g of peanut or egg-white protein was associated with the prevention of these two respective food allergies.

“Our study was looking at the introduction of multiple allergenic foods to infants recruited from the general population,” explained Dr Michael Perkin, one of the study’s authors. “This is about what’s the best way of introducing allergenic foods to all infants, not just a very selected subgroup. And that is absolutely unique. No one has done anything remotely like this.”



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