Clinical trial results showed that regular peanut consumption begun in infancy and continued until five years of age led to an 81 percent reduction in development of peanut allergy in infants deemed at high risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both.
According to researchers, people living with peanut allergy and their caregivers must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe and even life-threatening.
The allergy tends to develop in childhood and persist through adulthood.
However, recent scientific research has demonstrated that introducing peanut-containing foods into the diet during infancy can prevent the development of peanut allergy.
“Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance. Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs,” said researcher Anthony S. Fauci director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States,” Fauci added.
This finding came from the landmark, NIAID-funded Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study, a randomised clinical trial involving more than 600 infants.
“The LEAP study clearly showed that introduction of peanut early in life significantly lowered the risk of developing peanut allergy by age five,” said another study author Daniel Rotrosen director of NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation.
“The magnitude of the benefit and the scientific strength of the study raised the need to operationalise these findings by developing clinical recommendations focused on peanut allergy prevention,” Rotrosen added.