New research has shown that allowing infants to taste foods that contain wheat, milk, eggs and peanuts as early as the age of three months may decrease an infant’s risk of developing a food allergy. The study, which was led by Professor Karin C. Lødrup Carlsen of the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo, discovered that children who were introduced to these allergenic foods weren’t as likely to develop food allergies by the time they were three years old.
For a long time now, the Norwegian Directorate of Health has advised that parents postpone introducing food to their infants in their national recommendations. Figures show that food allergies affect roughly 10% of infants and between 2% to 5% of all children. However, Carlsen argues that this recommendation isn’t valid, noting that researchers had observed an increase in food allergy prevalence throughout the period. Carlsen, who is also a senior pediatrician at the Oslo University Hospital, explained that introducing children to these foods early decreased the prevalence of food allergies in a safe and simple manner.
The researchers’ objective was to make the foods part of the infant’s regular diet.
The study sample was made up of about 2,400 children, with parents of the children in the control group being required to follow national guidelines that recommend breastfeeding until a child is six months old.
The researchers explained that soft scrambled eggs, smooth peanut butter and porridge containing wheat were good foods to introduce to their infants, recommending that children consume one of these allergenic foods every week, after which parents could feed it to them at least four times every week once they were used to it.
In their report, the researchers explained that introducing different foods to children at a young age allowed their intestines to learn that the foods were harmless. This in turn enabled the child to develop a natural tolerance to a range of foods. The development of food allergies is usually caused when an individual’s immune system reacts to foods it believes are harmful to them.
The professor adds that giving infants small amounts of these foods is safe, with global guidelines also showing that it is appropriate and safe to start with peanuts and eggs between the age of four to six months.
The researchers also looked into whether early introduction to food could impact breastfeeding. They discovered that introducing more food to the infant’s diet did not affect breastfeeding, noting that current and prior studies had also shown that introducing food to infants early was safe for children who had a heightened risk of experiencing serious allergic reactions.
For individuals for whom early exposure to potentially allergenic foods is no longer a preventive option, the treatments being developed by companies such as Aditxt Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTX) can be a viable option because those remedies would reprogram the immune system so that it stops perceiving certain food items as harmful to the body.
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