Food Allergy Protection’s Critical Window

Food Allergy Protection’s Critical Window

Food Allergy Protection’s Critical Window

Food allergy protection starts earlier than you may think. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies start solids between 4 and 6 months of age.

Contrary to decades of pediatric advice, research now says early and regular dietary exposure to a food — specifically a food often associated with allergies, like peanut — helps reduce the risk of a child developing an allergy to that food.1

Why? It has to do with how babies' and toddlers' immune systems learn about food as they grow up. Somewhat incredibly, 70% of your baby's immune cells reside in the lining of her stomach and GI tract.2 Consistently exposing your baby's tummy to a food helps train her immune system to see this food as food, rather than as a threat or an allergen.

The LEAP study taught us that early introduction of peanut to infants between 4-11 months of age, fed at least 3x a week, for five years was safe and reduced development of peanut allergy by 86%.3

We also know that in the EAT study, 98% of babies who were fed foods like peanuts, sesame, eggs, fish and dairy by five months of age and who kept those foods in their diets regularly did not develop a food allergy.4

This is why it’s so important for parents to begin incorporating diverse foods, including potential allergens, in their babies’ diet as early as 4 - 6 months and continue this routine through early childhood.

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 Du Toit G, et al; LEAP Study Team. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med. 2015;372(9):803-813.

Vighi G, Marcucci F, Sensi L, Di Cara G, Frati F. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008;153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):3–6. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.

3 Du Toit G, et al; LEAP Study Team. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med. 2015;372(9):803-813.

4 Perkin M, et al; EAT Study Team. Randomized trial of introduction of allergenic foods in breast-fed infants. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(18):1733-1743.

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