LOS ANGELES – Researchers at the King’s College in London announced, in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) annual meeting in Los Angeles, that feeding peanuts to infants in early ages can reduce the risk to develop peanut allergy.

The New England Journal of Medicine published the LEAP-ON study on the effect of avoidance on peanut allergy after early peanut consumption, continuing the previously made LEAP study. The results were shown in the annual AAAAI meeting in Los Angeles, where every year researchers show new discoveries in the allergy area.

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

Peanut allergy is a very common, yet potentially life-threatening food allergy, that affects 0.6% of the American population and it can lead to serious and even fatal reactions. The LEAP-ON Study team showed  infants at high risk of suffering from peanut allergy,  that sustained the consumption of peanuts in the first 11 months of life, resulting in a 81% lower rate of peanut allergy at 60 months of age. A lower rate when compared to kids that avoided peanuts.

The study investigated if participants who had consumed peanut in the primary trial would remain protected against peanut allergy after stopping the consumption of peanuts for 12 months. Giving the team the opportunity to investigate the mechanisms of loss of protection from allergic responses

The primary trial located in the United Kingdom, showed 640 infants at high risk for allergy randomly assigned in two groups.Peanut avoidance group and peanut consumption group until 60 months of age. The children were fed peanuts in a supervised area, once they became accustomed to the product their bodies learned that peanuts did not represented a threat. This change in the children’s body remained after a year of initiating the procedures.

“The aim of our study was to find whether infants who had consumed peanuts in the first study would remain protected against peanut allergy after they stopped eating peanuts for 12 months. LEAP-ON study clearly demonstrates that the majority of infants remained protected and in a long lasting way,” said Gideon Lack, lead author of the study.

It was concluded that infants at a high risk for allergy, who were introduced  to peanuts in the first year of life and continued to consume the legume until the age of 5. Reduced the prevalence of peanut allergy  in a 74% rate, compared to the group of children who avoided peanuts for 12 months.

It remains to be seen whether the effects of early peanut consumption are maintained after continuous consumption over the course of many years.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine