Peanuts Early In Infancy May Lower The Risk of Developing Peanut Allergy

Milk and some other food allergies can go away with time.  But peanut allergy seems to last a lifetime and it can be severe, taking people to an Emergency Room.  That’s why there’s been so much of an effort to try to prevent it.

We previously reported on the 2015 Leap Study (which stood for Learning Early About Peanut Allergy).  That formed much of the basis for new guidelines on when to introduce peanuts into children’s diets.  That trial on over 600 babies who were at a high risk for peanut allergies, showed an 81% reduction in developing peanut allergy in those who regularly ate foods with peanuts in them from the time they were 4-6 months old until they were 5 years old.

As a result, an expert committee (including Dr. Hugh Sampson, a member of the  Nutrition4Kids Advisory Board) developed 3 new guidelines to help parents and medical personnel prevent peanut allergy from developing in the first place.

The 3 New Guidelines

  1. For babies who have severe eczema or who already have egg allergy, they recommend allergy testing for peanut allergy by 4-6 months of age to see if it’s already developed.  If it has, the baby should be managed by an allergist who would make a decision about whether they can still try to introduce peanuts carefully under their supervision.  In babies without any evidence of peanut allergy, the likelihood is that the baby would do well with either the parents starting peanut products in the home or while being supervised at their regular doctor’s office.
  2. A baby with mild eczema should do well with peanut products introduced at home, with that being started by the time the baby is 6 months old. 
  3. Infants without eczema or any food allergy can have age-appropriate peanut-containing foods freely introduced in the diet, together with their other solid foods.  Of course, that would be according to the family’s preferences and cultural practices, meaning some families almost never eat peanut products.

  Other Important Points

  1. These are foods like puffs made from peanuts and not peanuts themselves (which children shouldn’t eat until around 3 years old, to prevent choking) and peanut butter which also better left until babies can handle the thick texture (again, to prevent choking).
  2. Dr. Sampson was quoted by Pediatric News, saying, “once early peanut introduction is started, it is important that parents continue to provide peanut on a regular basis for several years.”

Dr. Sampson also summarizes the guidelines well: “It is important for parents to notify their pediatrician or family physician if they suspect their infant is at high for developing peanut allergy.”  And “it is critical that pediatricians and family practitioners identify infants at high risk for developing peanut allergy (severe atopic dermatitis or egg allergy) between 4 and 6 months of age, evaluate them, or refer them to a food allergy specialist when necessary.” 

Dr. Stan Cohen 01 March 2017

Dr. Stan Cohen is one of our founders and our CEO as well as the Chairman of our Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Stan is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. He is a Read More

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