Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More Support for Early Exposure to Food Allergens

The hypothesis that early exposure to certain food allergens may reduce the likelihood of children developing food allergies later in life received support recently from two additional studies. The first study, by the same authors that carried out the study described last year (see this blog Mar. 9, 2015) shows that the protective effect of being exposed to peanuts at an early age seems to last a long time, even when peanuts are not consumed at all for a full year. The second study extended these findings by showing that the protective effect of early exposure to allergens is not restricted to peanuts, but seems to apply to other of the usual food allergens such as eggs and wheat. At the very least, early exposure to these allergens does no harm.

The World Health Organization currently recommends that infants be fed only milk for the first six months. With more studies like these two, that recommendation may have to be changed in the future.

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