Experts are re-thinking linkages between food consumption and allergies. Recently, new research was published by the EAT (Enquiring about Tolerance) Study Team reporting on a “Randomized trial of introduction of allergenic foods in breast-fed infants” (Perkin, 2016).
In this study, 1303 exclusively breast-fed 3 month-old infants were assigned randomly to either standard introduction or early introduction of six allergenic foods, including cooked eggs, peanut, cow’s milk, sesame, whitefish, and wheat. According to protocol, the treatment group was to consume at least five of the early-introduced foods to deliver at least 75% of the target 3 grams allergenic protein per week. The protocol called for compliance for at least 5 weeks between 3 to 6 months of age. Challenge-proven allergy to one or more of the introduced foods was tested between 1 and 3 years of age.
Although directionally similar, the intent-to-treat results (which includes all subjects randomized) showed no significant results, whereas allergies were reduced in the subset of subjects that were compliant with the protocol. With respect to cooked eggs, prevalence of IgE-mediated allergy was significantly lower, 1.4% among early introduction infants compliant with the protocol compared to 5.5% among those in the standard introduction group (p=0.009).
Secondary analysis showed similar, although mostly non-significant, improvements in skin-prick testing and also showed dose response relationships for weekly consumption of egg and peanut protein. “The mean weekly consumption of 2 g of peanut protein and 4 g of egg protein (equivalent to 2 g of egg-white protein) was associated with the prevention of these two respective food allergies.”
This year, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) plans to release a report summarizing up to date information on the global burden, causes, treatment and prevention of food allergies.
Perkin, MR, et al. for the EAT Study Team. “Randomized trial of introduction of allergenic foods in breast-fed infants.” NEJM March 4, 2016. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1514210.
Stock media provided by [2@pressmaster]/Pond5.com