After studying findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have found that feeding infants small portions of peanuts can help prevent the development of allergies. They reported these findings on Friday, March 4th. This new development contradicts what health professionals have been suggesting for years (that infants should not be fed certain foods such as peanuts and strawberries until they are older).
According to the study, which is led by King’s College London, “the early introduction of peanuts to the diets of infants at high-risk of developing peanut allergy significantly reduces the risk of peanut allergy until six years of age, even if they stop eating peanuts around the age of five.” This information comes at a good time too. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of dangerous and high-risk peanut allergies among children across the world.
This is not the first study that has evaluated peanut allergy prevention in children. Last year, the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial was conducted. After evaluating over 600 children, the study found that infants who were at high-risk of developing a peanut allergy greatly reduced their risk when they ate peanuts by the age of 11 months in comparison to infants who were never fed peanuts. LEAP research still continues to date.
Barry Kay, an emeritus professor of allergy and clinical immunology at Imperial College London, and other experts, believe that despite these findings, it is still too early to determine whether parents should change their infants’ diets. In the meantime, parents should take advice from their pediatricians.