Annales 75.1 - Nutrition Intervention in Allergy Prevention

2 min read
Topic(s): Allergy Growth & Development Nutrition & Disease Management
W. Raanan Shamir
P. Tikva/Tel Aviv

Food allergy is defined as an immune-mediated adverse reaction to specific foods. This problem is becoming more widespread and affects up to 8% of children and 5% of adults in Western countries. Currently, there are no effective strategies to induce permanent tolerance: management of food allergies consists of recognizing the adverse reactions and treating the symptoms.

Because early infections are a major risk factor for asthma and allergic disease, protection through breastfeeding may be a pathway that shields against it. Pediatric asthma, eczema, food allergy and allergic rhinitis incur significant costs to the healthcare system, resulting in missed days of work and school, and affect the quality of life of parents and children.

Worldwide, the most common food allergies in children are allergies to cow’s milk, hen’s egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and seafood.

In the past, food allergy prevention strategies focused on the avoidance of allergenic foods in infancy. The current paradigm, however, is shifting from avoidance to controlled exposure. Recent evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests that the early introduction of allergenic foods such as peanuts may reduce the prevalence of food allergies in high-risk infants.