Recent Study Reveals Consuming Peanut Butter During Infancy Prevents Later Peanut allergy

Introducing peanut butter during infancy can help protect against a peanut allergy later on, new study finds
Introducing peanut butter during infancy can help protect against a peanut allergy later on, new study finds

According to encouraging new research, introducing smooth peanut butter to infants and young children can lower their chance of acquiring a peanut allergy years down the road.

A study published in the journal NEJM Evidence on Tuesday found that starting peanut consumption in infancy as early as 4 months of age, for example, as a soft pureed paste, and continuing regularly until about 5 years old was associated with a 71% reduced rate of peanut allergy among adolescents in the United Kingdom, compared with avoiding peanuts.

“I wasn’t totally shocked because allergies don’t seem to manifest in adolescence or adulthood in Israel, where babies are exposed to peanuts at a relatively young age. This implies that the protection is long-lasting,” wrote Gideon Lack, a paediatric allergy professor at King’s College London and one of the study’s authors, in an email.

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Most infants with peanut allergies begin to exhibit symptoms between the ages of six and twelve months. Lack stated that exposing kids to peanuts is something that must be done before the sickness manifests itself if the goal is to avoid it. Oral tolerance induction is an immunological theory that underpins this biological occurrence. It has long been known that young mice and other laboratory animals fed foods like egg, milk, or peanuts do not subsequently acquire allergies to these substances.

The American Academy of Paediatrics began recommending in 2000 that peanuts be introduced no earlier than three years of age; however, the guideline was discontinued in 2008.

2019—roughly ten years later—the American Academy of Paediatrics revised their recommendations, stating that “there is now evidence that early introduction of peanuts may reduce peanut allergy” and that “delaying the introduction of allergenic foods does not prevent illness.”

A rising number of Americans are concerned about their health due to food allergies, and peanut allergies are thought to impact over 1.5 million persons under the age of 18, or 2% of all children in the country. One of the food categories that can result in the most severe allergic responses, including the potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction, is peanuts.

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated in a news release on Tuesday that “today’s findings should reinforce parents’ and caregivers’ confidence that feeding their young children peanut products beginning in infancy according to established guidelines can provide lasting protection from peanut allergy.” “Among the 3.6 million infants born in the United States each year, this safe, straightforward method might avoid tens of thousands of cases of peanut allergy if broadly applied.”

Data from infants in the United Kingdom who took part in the LEAP trial, a research on peanut allergies, were included into the new study, which was named the LEAP-Trio trial.

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In the earlier study, which involved infants with eczema and egg allergies who were tracked until they were five years old, it was discovered that, at that age, the prevalence of peanut allergy was approximately 17% in the group of kids who avoided peanuts and 3% in the group that consumed peanut products—a relative reduction in peanut allergy of eighteen percent.

The purpose of the LEAP-Trio experiment was to investigate if this lower risk of peanut allergy would persist throughout adolescence.

For the purpose of the LEAP-Trio experiment, which examined the prevalence of peanut allergy at around age 12, 500 children underwent a new assessment.

About 15% of the kids who had initially avoided peanuts at that age still had a peanut allergy, making it “far more widespread.” About 4% of those who had previously eaten peanuts had a peanut allergy, the researchers discovered. That amounts to “a 71% decrease in the prevalence of peanut allergy at the LEAP-Trio time point,” according to what they stated.

However, generally speaking, the researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom found that when kids began eating peanuts in infancy and continued until about age 5, this seemed to offer them a “lasting tolerance” to peanuts until adolescence.

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The results are “a great reassurance,” according to an email sent on Tuesday by Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone in New York who is also a spokesperson for the Allergy & Asthma Network. She added that even in cases where children stopped eating peanuts consistently after the age of five, the protection against peanut allergies persisted until adolescence.

According to Parikh, “so ideally we should continue to introduce these allergens early at 4-6 months and continue them regularly until age 5 but after that we don’t need to be as consistent.” If there are no additional risk factors, this should stop at age 5.

She went on to say that under the supervision of a paediatrician, infants at minimal risk for allergies can be introduced to peanuts from 4 to 6 months old; however, children with severe eczema and an egg allergy should consult an allergist prior to early exposure.

Since newborns are still too young to consume solids, Parikh advised that they be added to breast milk or formula, which should have a thin consistency. This will prevent choking, and the amount should be added gradually every three to four days.

It’s advised to use smooth peanut butter blended into a puree when introducing peanuts to a baby’s diet rather than whole peanuts that might suffocate them.

“The sooner the better” is usually advised for parents, especially when it comes to eczema-affected newborns, according to Lack, who also mentioned that these babies are far more likely to experience food allergies and to experience them considerably earlier in the first year of life.

To eat solid meals, a kid must, nonetheless, be neurologically and developmentally mature enough to be able to coordinate swallowing and chewing without running the danger of choking. The majority of newborns may begin weaning between the ages of four and six months, but every baby is different and has to be evaluated as such, the expert stated. Additionally, the foods must to be served in a soft puree to make swallowing easier and lower the chance of choking. Solid food introduction before three months of age is not advised.

Previous research has also confirmed that early peanut introduction leads to tolerance. However, paediatric immunologist Dr. Daniel DiGiacomo of K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Centre in Neptune, New Jersey, who was not involved in the new study, believes that deciding whether to introduce your child to peanuts should be discussed with your paediatrician.

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“Once the child is developmentally mature and has accepted a few additional complementary foods without issue, the current professional position is to utilise a shared-decision making method for food introduction,” DiGiacomo wrote in an email on Tuesday.

“I normally begin by gradually increasing the quantity to a pea-sized amount and then double it every day until you reach a serving size that is acceptable for your age, which is at least two teaspoons.” Then carry on with the diet a few times a week,” he said. “Usually, I ask the family to combine the nut butter with a tolerable puree until the desired consistency is reached. If they choose to use peanuts, they may either dissolve the puffs in water or use powdered peanut butter or peanut flour to produce a peanut sauce. Once more, we go over the appropriate consistency and begin slowly, giving you instructions to stop and get in touch with your allergist if you have any problems.


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