Women who eat peanuts during pregnancy may put their infants at increased risk of allergy,a new study has claimed.
Researchers at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the US found that eating peanuts during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy among infants.
Dr Scott Sicherer,who led the study,said: “Researchers in recent years have been uncertain about the role of peanut consumption during pregnancy on the risk of peanut allergy in infants.
“While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy,it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions.”
For their study,published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,the researchers evaluated 503 infants aged three to 15 months with likely milk or egg allergies or with significant eczema and positive allergy tests to milk or egg — which are factors associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy.
The study infants had no previous diagnosis of peanut allergy. But their blood tests showed that a total of 140 infants had strong sensitivity to peanut,and consumption of peanut during pregnancy was a significant predictor of this test result.
“Peanut allergy is serious,usually persistent,potentially fatal,and appears to be increasing in prevalence,” said Dr Sicherer.
“Our study is an important step toward identifying preventive measures that,if verified,may help reduce the impact of peanut allergy.”
However,Dr Sicherer said,their study has limitations,including the reliance on the self-reporting of dietary habits among pregnant women.
Despite its limitations,the study has identified a potential risk factor that,if verified,could present an opportunity for risk reduction. The authors conclude that controlled,interventional studies should be conducted to explore these findings further.
In 2000,the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that women whose infants were at increased risk of allergies based upon family history consider avoiding peanut products while pregnant and breast feeding.
However,the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it. The current study is aimed at understanding better the risk factors behind a child’s developing peanut allergy,as well as allergies to milk and egg.