New research shows that introducing infants as young as four months old to peanuts may be the best way to prevent a peanut allergy. Time Warner Cable News’ Kristen Shaughnessy has more in this Healthy Living report.
Many allergists now recommend that babies be gradually introduced to peanuts to prevent them from developing a peanut allergy. The new recommendation comes after the number of peanut allergies tripled in recent years. Many allergists believe it is because peanuts were being introduced to children too late.
"There has been emerging research that has shown in countries where peanuts were introduced early the prevalence of peanut allergy was much, much less,” says Dr. David Erstein, a board-certified allergist. “Since that research had come out there have been fantastic, validated prospective studies that show that in fact early introduction will help infants, both high risk infants and general population."
Dr. Erstein says when babies are ready for stage one food, typically between four and six months of age, they are ready for peanut introduction, as long as they do not have a family history of allergies, have eczema or already have a food allergy.
"If you're going to introduce it, introduce it early in the day,” Dr. Erstein says. You want to monitor for reaction, reaction can be things like rash, fussiness, vomiting, diarrhea."
To make it easier, Dr. Erstein developed Hello Peanut, a USDA organic certified peanut protein introduction system made from a blend of peanut and sprouted oat flakes.
"The system contains seven packets and each day there's an incremental increase of peanut protein. This provides parents with an easy simple way of peanut introduction,” Dr. Erstein says.
Research has shown that ingesting at least two grams of peanut protein a week will help prevent the peanut allergy from developing, but Dr. Erstein says high risk infants should be evaluated by their pediatrician before being introduced to peanuts.