12/26/2013

Peanuts during pregnancy lowers baby's allergy risk

NEWS

Pregnant women who are not allergic to nuts and eat more of them during pregnancy may reduce the risk of their children developing an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts, concludes a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Peanut or tree nut (P/TN) allergies usually begin in childhood when the child is first exposed, so researchers looked at the link between pregnant mothers who eat peanuts or tree nuts and the risk of these allergies in their children. Researchers analyzed 8,205 children born to mothers who reported their diet before, during or after their pregnancy. Of those children, 308 had food allergies and 140 had P/TN allergies.

The results showed that children with mothers who did not have an allergy and who  consumed the highest amount of peanuts or tree nuts (five times a week or more) had the lowest risk of developing an allergy to them.

Researchers say their study is in line with the theory that exposure to early allergens increases the likelihood of tolerance, which lowers the risk of developing food allergies. They also say their study supports the decision to encourage women without food allergies to eat a diverse range of food during pregnancy, rather than to avoid peanuts and tree nuts.

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