When Should Babies Be Introduced To Peanuts, Eggs and Cow’s Milk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor  MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI Co-director of the CHILD Study Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, McMaster Universi

Dr. Sears

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor
Co-director of the CHILD Study
Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine,
McMaster University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study is a longitudinal birth cohort study commenced in 2008 with 3,495 families across Canada.  We recruited the mothers during pregnancy and are following their children to age 5 with the intent of determining the underlying developmental causes of allergy and asthma.

In the current analysis, we have looked at the relationship between the timing of first introduction of three “allergenic” foods (milk products, egg and peanut) and the likelihood of sensitization to these foods at age 1 year.  We found that earlier introduction was associated with a reduced risk of sensitization, which is consistent with some recent randomized controlled trials.  For instance, infants who avoided cow’s milk product in their first year of life were nearly four times as likely to be sensitized to cow’s milk compared with infants who did consume cow’s milk products before age 12 months.  Similarly, infants who avoided egg or peanut in the first year were nearly twice as likely to be sensitized to those foods compared to infants who consumed them before 12 months of age.

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

Response: Our findings support new infant feeding guidelines that promote the introduction of foods such as cow’s milk products, egg and peanut between 4-6 months of age.  This is an important shift in thinking, compared with previous advice to avoid these potentially allergenic foods.  Reduction in the risk of food sensitization is anticipated to also lead to reductions in risk of true food allergy, as well as development of other allergic conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.

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

Response:  Our study is, to our knowledge, the first observational study in a general population of infants to report on how the timing of introduction of allergenic foods effects the risk of developing food sensitization and potentially food allergy.  We have restricted our analysis to the three foods for which we undertook skin testing at the age of 1 year.  Further research should examine other foods, such as fish, sesame, wheat, other nuts, and also examine in more detail the precise timing at which introduction is most beneficial.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The CHILD Study has extensive data throughout early childhood relating to development of allergies, asthma, rhinitis, complemented by biological samples including blood, nasal secretions, stool, urine, breast milk, and house dust providing a wealth of data which are being analyzed to address our primary question of risk factors for the development of allergy and asthma.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:Maxwell M. Tran, Diana L. Lefebvre, David Dai, Christoffer Dharma, Padmaja Subbarao, Wendy Lou, Meghan B. Azad, Allan B. Becker, Piush J. Mandhane, Stuart E. Turvey, Malcolm R. Sears. Timing of food introduction and development of food sensitization in a prospective birth cohort. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/pai.12739

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Last Updated on June 21, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD