Feeding Babies Peanut Butter May Prevent Future Allergy

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A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that embracing eating peanut butter and products with peanuts may cut the chances of a child developing a peanut allergy. It’s a complete flip from the past advisement that children under age 1 should avoid peanut butter to reduce the risk of developing an allergy.

The study, conducted at King’s College in London, included more than 600 infants ranging in age from 4 to 11 months. Skin-prick tests were done before the trials began to determine if babies were sensitive to peanut oil. The British babies in the study were then randomly assigned to either regularly eat or not eat foods with peanuts until they were 5 years old. The study indicated that for every 100 children, 14 would normally go on to develop an allergy by the age of 5. For children who were introduced to foods with peanuts as infants, that number fell by 86 percent, to just two out of every 100 children.?

The study is without precedent, but researchers hope that findings could apply to other food allergies (eggs, wheat). Of course this doesn’t mean you should start making peanut butter smoothies for your 1-year-old, especially if you think they are prone to food allergies. Doctors warn not to experiment at home, but are hopeful that with new evidence and more research that early introduction of foods can help curb food allergies, that new protocols will follow.