Feeding Kids Peanuts Before The Age Of One Could Prevent Allergies

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When my son’s pediatrician recommended that we introduce peanut paste into his diet at the age of 8 months, I was quite surprised. I was even more surprised to hear the evidence of a new study which suggests that exposing babies under the age of 11 months to regular doses of peanuts (usually in the form of peanut paste) can provide long lasting protection against life threatening allergies.

The research was conducted with babies who had a high risk of allergies – which meant they had already suffered from an allergy to eggs or eczema.

Their evidence revealed that by exposing a baby to peanuts, their risk of developing peanut allergies at the age of five is reduced by more than 80 percent.

A year on – the same children have been tested and it’s been proven that the protection lasts even when the child no longer eats peanuts regularly – with an overall 74 percent reduction in allergies in comparison to babies who’d been kept away from peanuts their entire lives.

In the first study, which was published last year, the researchers took approximately 600 babies that had shown signs of being prone to allergies, and split them into two groups – one that avoided peanuts altogether, and the other was given small daily doses of peanut mushed up and mixed with other foods to reduce the risk of choking.

After 5 years, they found that 17 percent of the children in the group who avoided peanuts altogether had developed peanut allergies, in comparison to just 3.2 percent in the exposure group.

It was certainly a breakthrough in research but it was still unclear whether the children would have to continue to eat peanuts daily in order to maintain the benefits.

The research team continued to follow 550 of the children from the original study for another year, during which time all of them were told to avoid peanuts entirely. By the end of the sixth year, the allergy rates did not change and just 3 of the kids who had exposure to peanuts as babies, developed new allergies during the year off, but so did 3 of the children from the avoidance group.

Exactly how much peanut paste needs to be given to a baby in the first year for the desired effect is still unknown, however Doctors have clearly already started changing their recommendations to patients

RELATED: What Parents Need to Know About Allergic Kids

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