New research dubbed the LEAP-on suggests that giving your child peanuts in their first 11 months of life could significantly lessen their risk of developing peanut allergies.
To come to this conclusion the LEAP (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy) study tested about 600 infants for peanut allergies. In the survey, half of the children were given peanuts during the first year of life while the other half did not feed on peanuts.
At the end of the research, it became apparent that 35% of the infants who never ate peanuts developed an allergy to the nuts. However, only 11% of those that ate peanuts tested positive for an allergy through a skin prick test.
To cement these findings further, the researchers conducted a follow up on 556 children who took part in the LEAP-on-study to determine what would happen if they avoided peanuts for 12 months later in life.
Both groups (those who ate peanuts at early stages of life and those who did not) stopped eating peanuts or related products for a year at age five. It turned out that 18.6% of those who did not eat peanuts as well as 4.8% of those who ate peanuts developed a peanut allergy in the second study.
Professor Gideon Lack, the lead author of the study, says, they aimed at finding out whether newborns that ate a peanut in the research would have enough protection against peanut allergy even when they did not eat peanut for one year.
More Research Needed Though
While the LEAP-on study established the link between developing a peanut allergy and eating peanuts(or lack of it) at an early age, they note that further research needs to be conducted to determine that amount of peanuts an infant needs to take to avoid the allergy.
According to the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, peanut allergy is on the rise in the United States. Dr. Lolita McDavid who serves as a pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital acknowledges that the findings of this study are essential.
McDavid says that for cultures where people are being helped to adopt peanut as a staple diet, educating parents about the need to feed their children at early stages of life could prove life-saving. Nonetheless, he cautions that patients who want to desensitize their children to peanuts should do first consult a doctor to avoid a life-threatening reaction as a result of eating peanuts.
The findings of the LEAP-on study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.