Early introduction of peanut can provide protection into adolescence

A study published recently in NEJM Evidence found that feeding children peanuts regularly from infancy to five years of age significantly reduced the rate of peanut allergy in adolescence.

Building on the results of the groundbreaking Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial, the new findings come from a follow-up study called LEAP-Trio that set out to examine the durability of peanut tolerance. In the original LEAP trial, half of the participants regularly consumed peanut from infancy until five years of age, while the other half avoided peanuts during that period. Early introduction of peanut was found to reduce the risk of peanut allergy at age five by 81%. In the new study, researchers followed up both groups until age 12 years. During that period, the children could choose to eat any amount of peanut as often as they wanted. The findings showed that, at 12 years of age, peanut allergy remained significantly more prevalent in children in the original peanut avoidance group than in the original peanut consumption group (15.4% vs. 4.4%).

The researchers concluded that eating peanuts from infancy until five years of age provided lasting tolerance to peanut into adolescence, irrespective of subsequent peanut consumption.

This study was led by Prof. Gideon Lack, who was awarded the 2023 INC Excellence in Research Award for his prolific work on the prevention of peanut allergy.

Du Toit, G., Huffaker, M. F., Radulovic, S., Feeney, M., Fisher, H. R., Byron, M., Dunaway, L., Calatroni, A., Johnson, M., Foong, R. X., Marques-Mejias, A., Bartha, I., Basting, M., Brough, H. A., Baloh, C., Laidlaw, T. M., Bahnson, H. T., Roberts, G., Plaut, M., Wheatley, L. M., … Immune Tolerance Network LEAP-Trio Trial Team (2024). Follow-up to Adolescence after Early Peanut Introduction for Allergy Prevention. NEJM Evidence, 3(6), EVIDoa2300311.

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