Preventing Food Allergies May Start in Infancy
Written by Editor   
Saturday, October 08, 2016 12:00 AM

Early introduction of certain allergenic foods to the infant diet reduces the risk of developing an allergy to that food. The results indicated with moderate certainty that early introduction of peanuts (from 4-11 months) diminished the risk of subsequent peanut allergy compared with later introduction.  Similarly, for eggs, early introduction (from 4-6 months) cut the risk of developing egg allergy.

The findings support the 2008 guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics that raised "serious questions about the benefit of delaying the introduction of solid foods that are thought to be highly allergenic," such as egg and peanut.

The systematic review found evidence that the timing of introduction of certain allergenic foods to the infant diet was linked to risk of allergic disease but not risk of autoimmune disease.

While these findings do provide food for thought on delaying allergens in the infant diet, the researchers noted that the results should not automatically lead to new recommendations to feed egg and peanut to all infants.

These important points should resonate with allergy specialists, primary care physicians, and other healthcare professionals who care for infants, as well as obstetricians caring for pregnant mothers, all of whom are important stakeholders in effectively conveying the message that guidance to delay allergen introduction is outdated.