News / Winnipeg

Infants who consume peanuts from breast milk less likely to develop allergies: Study

The lowest incidence of peanut sensitivity—1.7 per cent—was observed among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breastfeeding.

Peanut butter on a spoon.

Dreamstime

Peanut butter on a spoon.

A new study showing a link between breastfeeding and allergies is pretty nuts.

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba found that mothers who eat peanuts while breastfeeding and incorporate the legume into children’s diets early on in life may reduce the likelihood of an allergy.

“It seems to be an important combination, because it was only the babies who received peanuts early, and also were breastfed by moms who ate peanuts who have these low rates of (allergies)," said Dr. Meghan Azad, scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and assistant professor in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

The prevalence of food allergies has increased in recent decades and approximately seven per cent of Canadian children have a food allergy. Peanuts are the most common, according to research from Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI).  

“This could be a starting point for that maternal consumption of other foods in allergy development,” Azad said.

The new research could also be a starting point for experimental studies in which doctors recommend moms eat peanuts while breastfeeding.

A total of 342 babies were included in the study – half in Winnipeg and the other half in Vancouver. The lowest incidence of peanut sensitivity—1.7 per cent—was observed among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breastfeeding and directly introduced peanuts before 12 months.

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