By Allergen Bureau

Early Introduction: Don’t just focus on peanut, milk and egg

Among children with food allergy, up to 40 per cent are allergic to multiple foods. While introducing potentially allergenic foods in early infancy has proven effective at preventing the development of food allergies in childhood, research shows this strategy is allergen-specific. A year-long pilot study has looked at the safety and efficacy of various combinations of foods introduced in infancy.

Researchers were interested in the exact dose, frequency, and number of allergens that can be safely introduced to infants at this age, particularly in those at high or low risk of developing food allergy.

In 180 infants aged 2 months to 12 months of age, they looked at early introduction of single foods (milk, egg, or peanut) vs. two foods (milk/egg, egg/peanut, milk/peanut) vs. multiple foods (milk/egg/peanut/cashew/almond/shrimp/walnut/wheat/salmon/hazelnut) at low, medium, or high doses. These strategies were compared with no early introduction.

The results from the study showed much better food challenge outcomes in children fed with the multiple mixture vs. single and vs. double as early introduction. There was negligible difference between those at high or low risk of developing food allergy. Larger, randomized controlled studies are needed to confirm these results.

The study authors believe regular daily dosing of small amounts of mixed food proteins was key to the study’s success. Participants reported that remembering to feed the powder mixture daily in small amounts was easier than if they were to dose 2–3 times a week with a larger serving of many foods.

Reference: Quake et al. 2022 Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu14040737

Open Access publication