News article

Introduction of allergenic foods at early age decreases risk of food sensitisation

Posted:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Timing of food introduction influences development of food allergy in infants

Early childhood exposure to allergenic foods prevents sensitization to them! Foods such as milk, eggs, and peanuts are known to induce allergic reactions. However, a new study has indicated that the introduction of children to such foods before one year of age may prevent the development of food sensitisation. The observations of the study were presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference.

Maxwell Tran, a research student at McMaster University and the lead investigator of this study, examined the data on 1421 children from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. The objective was to determine the effect of introducing cow’s milk products, egg, and peanut on food sensitisation at age one.

Most parents introduced cow’s milk products, which included cow’s milk-based formula before age one – 48% at 0-6 months and 7-12 months each, and 4% at 12 months age. Egg was introduced towards the end of the first year – just 6% at 0-6 months, 76% at 7-12 months, and 19% at 12 months of age.

It was observed that children with early exposure to allergenic food products had a significantly reduced sensitisation of the corresponding food in the later stages of life. The early introduction of eggs was particularly beneficial, as it decreased the risk of sensitisation to any of the three tested foods.

Mr. Tran explained, ”The clinical implications of our findings are that early introduction of allergenic foods (egg, cow's milk products, and peanut) before age one should be encouraged and is better than food avoidance for reducing the risk of food sensitization."