Recent research suggests that giving this to your children during infancy could prevent a peanut allergy from developing later in life.
If you have ever known someone with a peanut allergy, you know just how serious of a threat it can be. People who are allergic to peanuts have to remain vigilant about eating foods that have even the slightest traces of peanuts or their oil, which can be transferred on cooking surfaces and utensils.
Two new studies, however, have suggested that there may be a way to prevent a food allergy from developing in the first place. According to a report from the Associated Press, researchers have shown evidence that feeding babies peanut mush or other allergenic foods can protect them later on in life.
One of the studies was a follow-up to a massive effort published last year that found that early prevention strategies were actually effective at preventing the onset of food allergies later in life. Children exposed to peanuts before age 5 showed little signs of allergies. After this age, even children who stopped eating peanuts were protected for at least a year.
The results of the study have led to a shift in how experts view allergies and devise strategies to prevent them. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the study was one of the first on record to demonstrate that early introduction of peanuts can help ward off the development of an allergy later in life.
Dr. Fauci’s agency issued new guidelines last week, which recommends giving children who show signs of risk in the form of skin rashes peanuts as early as 4 to 6 months. Despite the study’s findings, researchers reiterated that having a doctor scan for potential allergies is crucial before exposing a newborn to peanuts.
The study and subsequent follow-up followed more than 600 British infants who were at risk of developing a peanut allergy. Those that were given peanut-based foods before age 1 were found to be much less likely to develop peanut allergies than those who were not exposed.
A press release from the National Institute of Health, which funded the study, can be found here.