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Early Exposure Could Be the Key to Preventing Peanut Allergy
Research carried out at Kings College London and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has suggested that early exposure to peanuts could lessen the chances of developing a nut allergy. Researchers found that if children ate peanut snacks within the first 11months of life, by the age of five they could afford to stop eating the food for a year and still show no allergic reaction.
The study involved 556 children, 274 who had regularly consumed peanut containing foods to age 5, and 282 who had avoided peanuts during the same period. The children were selected as they were thought to be prone to developing an allergy as they already suffered from eczema, an egg allergy or both. Scientists found that consumption of the equivalent of one and a half teaspoons of peanut butter and one small boiled egg every week was enough to protect children from developing an allergy.
Lead author of the study, Professor Gideon Lack said: “The research clearly demonstrates that the majority of infants did in fact remain protected and that the protection was long-lasting. 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.” Between 1995 and 2005 the number of people diagnosed as suffering from peanut allergy tripled.
You can view a full copy of the study HERE.