Peanut Allergy: Does Eating Peanuts During Pregnancy Reduce Allergies in Children?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael C. Young, M.D.
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Division of Allergy & Immunology
Children’s Hospital Boston

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Young: We found an association between increased maternal peripregnancy consumption of peanuts/ tree nuts and reduced risk of nut allergies in the offspring.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Young: These data support similar findings in recents studies of early infant diets, that early exposure to food allergens reduces risk of developing allergies to those foods, whereas avoidance of food allergens in early childhood may increase risk of food allergies.  Ours is the first to examine peripregnancy diets with reduction of risk to a food allergy in the offspring.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Young: While our data shows an association, because of our study design as an observational study, we do NOT show a causal relationship between maternal diet during peripregnancy and the offspring’s risk of nut allergy.  Therefore specific dietary recommendations for the pregnant woman cannot be made from this study.   However, this study does dispel the notion that pregnant women should avoid eating nuts to prevent sensitization and development of nut allergies; if a pregnant woman wishes to eat peanuts and tree nuts, she can feel free and safe in doing so.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Young: To prove a cause-and-effect relationship between maternal diet during pregnancy and risk of nut allergies in the offspring, a prospective randomized interventional study is required.  Only then can definitive evidence-based dietary recommendations for pregnant women be formulated, for the prevention of food allergies in offspring.

Citation:

Frazier A, Camargo CA, Jr, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Young MC.
Prospective Study of Peripregnancy Consumption of Peanuts or Tree Nuts by Mothers and the Risk of Peanut or Tree Nut Allergy in Their Offspring. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;():. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4139.

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