New Australian research links breast milk to nut allergies

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th July 2012

A study released today by the Australian National University (ANU) has found that infants who are solely breast fed for the first six months may be more susceptible to nut allergies.

A health check questionnaire was supplied to primary schools in ACT between 2006 and 2009.  Parents were asked to provide information relating to their child’s health issues.  From the 88% participation rate, 3.9% of the children had a parent-reported nut allergy – almost twice as many as British children of the same age.

The research also found that infants who are fed fluids other than breast milk have a higher protection against nut allergies.  Infants who are solely breast fed are 1.5 times likely to have nut allergies.

Professor Marjan Kljakovic of ANU Medical School said that it is important to understand how feeding practices may be playing a part in peanut allergies, which account for two-thirds of all fatal food-induced allergic reactions.

Professor Kljakovic also noted that the results contribute to the argument that breast feeding alone does not appear to be protective against nut allergies in children – it may, in fact, cause allergies.

The results of the ANU study, which have been published in the latest International Journal of Pediatrics, are available online.