Study confirms link between feeding infants eggs, peanuts and reduced allergy risk
An academic review has confirmed a link between feeding eggs and peanuts to babies as young as four months and a reduced likelihood of developing allergies to these foods later in life.
Although infant feeding guidelines no longer recommend delaying the introduction of food usually associated with allergies, most do not advise early feeding of these foods.
The researchers, led by Robert J Boyle from the Imperial college London, reviewed approximately 150 studies on allergic food introduction in the first year of life. After the review they concluded there was “moderate-certainty” that introducing eggs to children aged 4-6 months was associated with reduced risk of allergy. Introduction of peanuts between 4 and 11 months was associated with reduced allergy compared with those introduced to the food later in life.
Introducing fish early was also studied with the researchers concluding there was “low-certainty” that fish introduced before 6-12 months was associated with reduced chance of having hay fever. There was “very low-certainty” that fish introduced between 6 and 9 months was associated with allergic sensitisation.
There was high-certainty evidence that the timing of gluten introduction was not associated with developing celiac disease risk.
Despite the findings, the authors say feeding guidelines for infants should not be changed right away.
“The imprecise effect estimates, issues regarding indirectness, and inconclusive trial sequential analysis findings all need to be considered, together with a careful assessment of the safety and acceptability of early egg and peanut introduction in different populations,” the authors said.