NNA - Including peanuts in children's diets early in life could help stave off allergies against the legume, which can be fatal and affect swathes of youngsters globally, according to a new study Friday.
Researchers found that introducing peanut products to babies and infants, and gradually increasing exposure, led to greater tolerance for the common allergen.
The peer-reviewed study, published in The Lancet, involved 146 peanut-allergic children aged between zero and three over two-and-a-half years.
Of the group, 96 were given peanut protein powder every day, with the dose increasing progressively to the equivalent of six peanuts. The other children received a placebo of oat flour.
Twenty of the children who received peanut powder showed allergy remission, meaning no allergic reaction occurred six months after the therapy ended.
One child in the placebo group showed remission.
Six months after the treatment, the children in remission could tolerate a dose equivalent to 16 peanuts.
An additional 20 children who received peanut powder were considered 'desensitised', meaning they had a higher allergic threshold but were not considered in remission.
These children could tolerate a dose equivalent to between six and 12 peanuts six months after the treatment ended.
The youngest children in the study experienced remission the most often, and the best results were in those under 12 months.
"Very early interventions may provide the best opportunity to achieve remission", said co-author Stacie Jones. --AFP