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- How to prevent Food Allergy
- Do not add food supplements durign pregnancy to avoid food allergy
- Maternal breastfeeding could prevent food allergy
- When breastfeeding is not possible, Hydolized formulas should be used during the first four months
- When to introduce solid food in high risk children: best before than later
How to prevent Food Allergy
It is best to prevent: if we can avoid it, let’s go for it. But what is not that clear is which measures should be taken by parents to avoid food allergy in their kids. The vast majority of investigation focus on three possible targets: pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and children.
Do not add food supplements durign pregnancy to avoid food allergy
Maternal breastfeeding could prevent food allergy
Both for the mother and child, breastfeeding is well-known to be beneficial. That is the reason why Pediatricians and the World Health Organization recommend breast-feeding as the best nourishment way for lactating and infants.
Some studies show some benefit of maternal breastfeeding on the risk of future food allergy and atopic dermatitis development in high risk children. But as a whole there is a lack of research that reflect breastfeeading is positive in preventing food allergy. And that is no strange because there are ethical reasons as well as being very difficult issues to be investigated. As an example, long-chain fatty acids have an effect on inmune system (they are immunomodulatory), but the composition of the mother milk may extensively change from woman to woman, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.
When breastfeeding is not possible, Hydolized formulas should be used during the first four months
Those mothers that cannot finnish the lactation perio due to diseases or work causes have a clear option: it is recommended to use cow-based protein hydrolized formulas in those children with high allergy risk. The preventive effect is documented during the four first months and after those months a cow-based formula should be recommended.
When to introduce solid food in high risk children: best before than later
A reasonable approach would be to delay the introduction of solid food to avoid allergies, having in mind that up to 4-6 months children do not usually need solid food.
Nonetheless there is scientific data supporting the opposite. In Great Britain it has been evaluated which strategy regarding peanut consumption would be more effective to prevent the developmento of allergies in high risk kids. The LEAP study draw as conclusions that early peanut introduction could significantly reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy in high risk children. It is interesting to introduce peanut-containing products en high risk children during the 4 to 11 months period in those countries where this allergy is frequent, because delaying it can be associated to a higher risk of becoming sensitive and have a food allergy.
In Australia scientists studied the period where cooked egg introduction could prevent allergies. It was seen that the risk was diminished in children with early introduction (4 to 6 months) as compared with others who delayed it.
Nowdays it is recommended the introduction of complementary food after 4 months according to local uses and nutritional recommendations, regardless the atopic burden of the kid and his/her risk to develop allergies.
Last updated: november, 30th 2015
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