Washington: Egg and peanut allergies are believed to be the most common ones in infants.
However, a recent research has shown that early introduction of eggs (from four to six months) and peanuts (from four to 11 months) to toddlers can lower down the rate of the allergy.
The researchers analyzed the combined results of trials investigating whether food allergens in babies’ diets prevent the development of allergies to these foods. They concluded there was “moderate” certainty that early introduction of egg or peanut was associated with lower risks of egg and peanut allergy, reports The Guardian.
The research also found that early introduction of gluten (wheat) was not associated with an increased risk of coeliac disease. The researchers used the term “moderate” certainty because the review is based on a mix of studies with different designs and of varying quality.
Feeding studies can also be difficult to blind; for some studies participants and researchers knew who was given egg or peanut, so were open to some bias. As a result the authors said more work needs to be done to better understand the precise optimal timing for introducing eggs and peanuts.
The findings state that when parents introduce solids, at about six months but not before four months, they should also introduce previously avoided foods such as peanut and
egg in the baby’s first year of life.
Based on this research, feeding guidelines state that earlier introduction did not increase the risk of food allergy and may indeed be protective.
These recommendations were strengthened this year after research trials tested the effect of eating common allergens (in particular, peanut) in the first year of life compared with completely avoiding them.
However, it’s still not clear if this approach alone will prevent the whole food allergy epidemic. Some children will still develop food allergies despite following the feeding guidelines. We know the tendency to develop allergic disease is inherited but environmental factors, including the microbiome, vitamin D levels, migration effects, the number of siblings and exposure to pets also all appear to play influential roles, as does the presence of early onset eczema.
Research trials are investigating the role these factors play in the development of food allergy risk. The research was published in the American Medical Association Journal.