Study: Avoid Delayed Introduction of Allergenic Foods

Baby

Research published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology determined that infants for whom the introduction of cow’s milk, eggs and peanuts were delayed past their first year were more likely to be sensitized to these foods at age one.

Analyzing data from more than 2,100 children participating in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, researchers found that infants with delayed introduction of milk products were nearly four times more likely to be sensitized to milk when compared to those who had milk products introduced earlier. For eggs and peanuts, infants with delayed introduction were twice as likely to be sensitized.

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Dr Malcolm Sears
Dr Malcolm Sears

“Food sensitization early in life is associated with an increased risk of wheeze, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis in later childhood,” said Dr. Malcolm Sears, co-director of the CHILD Study and a professor of medicine at McMaster University.

“While not all food-sensitized infants become food allergic, sensitization is an important step on the pathway. ” he added.

“Early introduction of eggs before one year of age seemed to be especially beneficial, as it significantly reduced the odds of developing sensitization to any of the three food allergens,” says the study’s first author, Maxwell Tran, a BHSc graduate from McMaster University.

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“Our findings support infant feeding guidelines that promote the introduction of foods such as cow’s milk products, egg and peanut between four to six months of age,” says Tran. “This is an important shift in thinking away from avoidance of potentially allergenic foods, toward their early introduction to reduce the risk of food allergy later on.”

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