Peanut allergy theory backed up by new research
The effects of eating peanut products as a baby to avoid the risk of allergy have been backed up by new research.
In 2015, a study claimed early exposure to peanut products could cut the risk of allergy by 80%.
Now researchers say “long-lasting” allergy protection can be sustained – even when the snacks are later avoided for a year.
The New England Journal of Medicine study looked at 550 children deemed prone to developing a peanut allergy.
The latest paper builds on the results of the 2015 research, which was also carried out by King’s College London and marked the first time scientists were able to suggest that exposing children to small amounts of peanut snacks could stave off an allergy.
The new study suggests that if a child has consumed peanut snacks within the first 11 months of life, then at the age of five they can afford to stop eating the food entirely for a year, and maintain no allergy.
Lead author Prof Gideon Lack said: “[The research] clearly demonstrates that the majority of infants did in fact remain protected and that the protection was long-lasting.”
He said that part of the problem was that people lived in a “culture of food fear”.
“I believe that this fear of food allergy has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the food is excluded from the diet and, as a result, the child fails to develop tolerance,” he told the BBC News website.
The researchers used the same children who took part in the 2015 study – half of whom had been given peanut snacks as a baby while the remainder had been fed on a diet of breast milk alone.
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