More than 3 million people live with peanut allergies, the culprit of the highest incidence of food allergy anaphylaxis. For years the consensus regarding peanut allergies has recommended against the consumption of peanuts in infancy. However, the latest research is suggesting just the opposite.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is now recommending that foods containing peanuts (powder, extract, pureed etc.) be given to infants before the age of 6 months and even earlier for those with a known predisposition such as an egg allergy or eczema.
This new recommendation comes in light of new groundbreaking research conducted by Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) who studied over 600 high risk babies for a span of 5 years. Half of them were given peanut-containing foods early on and frequently until age 5 and the other half were told to avoid them. Research showed that children who consumed peanut-containing foods early in life reduced their chance of developing an allergy by 81 percent (NIAID, 2017).
The new recommendation aims to introduce peanuts into the diets of infants early, in an effort to familiarize the body with it before an intolerance is built.
prior recommendations called for peanuts/ peanut product to be held until the age of 3 years; however, under this guideline the prevalence of peanut allergies increased from < 0.5 percent to 2% of the US pediatric population over a 10 year span (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s food allergy committee, 2017).
Parents should speak with their Pediatricians before introducing peanut containing products into their infant’s diet.
For an in depth look at the new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ prevention for peanut allergy recommendations, please visit: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/guidelines-clinicians-and-patients-food-allergy
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