A lot of people suffer from food allergies. It prevents them from eating certain food items and thus, they miss out on the experiences that non-allergic people can have. According to a new meta-analysis, if kids are given peanuts and eggs early in life then that may lower the risk of them becoming allergic to these items as they grow older.
The researchers of the recent analysis observed data collected from approximately 150 previously conducted studies. The collected data had more than 200,000 children participants. All of the observed studies had information regarding when children (from birth to being 1 year old) were introduced to specific food items.
The results from the analysis brought forward a link present between being introduced to food and developing allergies later in life. It was seen that feeding eggs to kids (four to six months old) had 40% lower risk of developing an allergy to eggs. This reduction in risk was in comparison to kids who weren’t fed eggs until later in life.
In a similar manner, kids (being four to eleven months old) that were fed food items containing peanuts saw the risk of developing an allergy to peanuts to be 70% less than kids who ate peanut containing food at a much older age.
According to the co-author of the current study, Dr. Robert Boyle, a pediatric allergy researcher at Imperial College London, the results suggest that the development of allergies to peanuts and eggs may be prevented if kids are given these items to eat during the early stages of their life. Dr. Boyle also noted that kids can’t be fed peanuts and eggs at such a young age if they are already suffering from a food allergy or eczema. That is why parents need to talk to doctors before introducing such food items in their kid’s meals. Infants and babies should be given peanut butter (the smooth variety) rather than whole nuts as that can lead to choking.
The findings from the study have been published in the journal JAMA. The researchers also went on to observe that allowing kids to eat eggs early may help to prevent a total of 24 egg allergy cases/1,000 people. This number is for a population having an egg allergy rate of 5.4%. Allowing kids to eat peanuts at an early stage may help prevent 18 peanut allergy cases/1,000 people. This number is for a population having a 2.5% rate of peanut allergies.
It was once recommended by doctors that kids who had a high risk of developing food allergies should not eat food items that were potentially risky (peanuts and eggs) before turning two or three years old. However, new studies show proof that early introduction to such foods can help kids rather than harm them.
Temporary guidance was issued by the America Academy of Pediatrics last year. It recommended that kids that are at high risk of developing allergies to peanuts should be introduced to them early. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is also expected to release its own guidelines that may follow the same recommendation about early introduction of peanuts to kids.
According to Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, from Children’s Hospital Colorado (Aurora), the introduction of such recommendations shows support for studies that reveal the potential benefits of making kids eat peanuts at an early age to avoid developing allergies to it.
However, further research is still required to fully understand this occurrence. This is also due to the fact that the current study also observed the early introduction of fish, tree nuts, milk and wheat in kids but was unable to find any link to the reduction of developing allergies to such food items.