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Feed your baby peanuts to avoid life-threatening allergy

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Treat like with like—the cornerstone of homeopathy could be used to reduce peanut allergy in children.

Feeding children up to the age of five with small amounts of peanut could reduce the extent of the life-threatening allergic response by as much as 71 percent.

Parents have been warned not to give peanuts to their babies, but researchers from King’s College London say that giving children small amounts can create longterm tolerance and protect them well into adolescence.  “This simple intervention will make a remarkable difference to future generations and see peanut allergies plummet,” said Gideon Lack, one of the researchers.

He is part of a research group known as Leap (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) that has been testing the effects of introducing peanuts to babies.   In the latest study, half the participants were asked to include peanuts in their children’s regular diet for the first five years, while the rest were told to avoid the nut.

Peanut allergy was reduced by 81 percent in the children given the nuts, and between the ages of six and 12, just 4 percent of those given nuts developed an allergy compared with 15 percent in the avoidance group.  Overall, the risk of peanut allergy dropped by 71 percent if the child had been fed the nut in the first few years.

“It’s a safe and highly effective intervention which can be implemented as early as four months.  The infant needs to be developmentally ready to start weaning and peanuts should be introduced as a soft pureed paste or as peanut puffs,” said George Du Toit, another researcher.

Around 2 percent of children suffer from peanut allergy, a reaction that can sometimes be life-threatening.

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References
NEJM Evidence, 2024; 3: doi: 10.1056/EVIDoa2300311
Article Topics: Food allergy, peanuts
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