Well, seems the best way to prevent some food allergies since childhood. At least, in the case of peanuts, according to a study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” and that just presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
The study concludes that the introduction of products with peanuts in the diet of infants at high risk of developing peanut allergy is a safe approach, but also achieves 81% reduction in the risk of subsequent development of allergy. The work called Learning Early Allergy Peanut (LEAP) was raised by the observations that showed that Israeli children have lower rates of peanut allergy compared with Jewish children of similar ancestry but who reside in the UK. Unlike children living in the UK, Israeli children begin to consume foods containing peanuts early.
Thus, researchers led by Gideon Lack, of King’s College London, have tried to demonstrate that such low peanut allergy in Israeli children rates are the result of high levels of consumption during early childhood.
Food allergies are a growing concern worldwide. For example, it is estimated that between 4% and 8% of children suffer from some type of childhood allergy, with fish, shellfish and nuts the foods that trigger it. Some surveys suggest that about 2.7 % of people suffer from food allergies. In the last decade has increased the number of people affected by an allergic reaction to food. Food allergy has doubled country in just over a decade. In 1992, 3.6% of people attending a consultation had food allergy. In 2005 the figure rose to 7.4%. Hence the importance of the results of this study showing the benefits in the prevention of a very common type of allergy, as are nuts. The results will have the potential to transform the way in which researchers approach the prevention of food allergy.
In this trial the researchers compared two strategies to prevent peanut allergy: avoidance consumption or dietary those babies at risk of developing peanut allergy because they had egg allergy and/or severe eczema, an inflammatory skin disease. The study excluded infants who showed early strong signs of having peanut allergy because safety and efficacy of early peanut consumption in this group is still unknown. The expert advises parents of infants and toddlers with eczema or egg allergy consult an allergist, pediatrician or family doctor before giving products containing peanuts.
The researchers recruited more than 600 high-risk children between 4 and 11 months of age who were randomly assigned to one of two strategies: therapy avoidance or a diet with at least 6 grams of peanut protein weekly. Both regimens were maintained until 5 years of age and all participants were monitored during this period. After expiry of this period, researchers evaluated peanut allergy in 640 children and saw 81% reduction in the risk of peanut allergy in those who followed a diet with peanuts from very small compared to those who avoided nuts.
Before 2008, most clinical practice guidelines recommending avoidance of potentially allergenic foods in the diets of children with increased risk of food allergies. However while recent studies have shown no benefit of allergen avoidance, the LEAP study is the first to demonstrate that early introduction of peanuts in the diet is actually beneficial and shows an effective approach for managing a serious public health problem.
The researchers will conduct a follow-up study, called LEAP-On, which will ask all LEAP study participants avoid eating peanuts for a year. These results will determine whether or not requires the consumption of this nut continuously to maintain child tolerance to peanuts.
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