According to a recent editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), newer evidence shows that introducing peanuts early, between ages 4 and 11 months, and eggs between ages 4 and 6 months, is linked to a reduction in the risk of developing a peanut or egg allergy. The study also looked at other common allergens including fish.
This new thinking is contradicting information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, who in the year 2000 recommended that allergenic foods be kept away from infants until they were at least a year old, and often older.
Searching for “why?”
Even though researchers have found with “moderate certainty” that introducing peanuts and eggs earlier on leads to a reduction in the risk of allergy, they’re still unsure as to why.
“It is not clear that it is the specific early introduction of an allergenic food that renders immunological protection, rather than the accompanying increased diversity in the diet that occurs as a by-product,” says Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, an allergy and immunology specialist here at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Dr. Matthew Greenhawt and his colleague Dr. David Fleischer are co-directors of the Food Challenge Unit at Children’s Colorado and are currently conducting a study on this very issue.
Read the full story from TIME and learn more about Drs. Greenhawt and Fleischer’s research.