Early or late introduction – are we getting sidetracked on peanut allergies?

The peanut allergy explosion has certainly led to a great deal of research as to the cause. Some experts have suggested that a delay in introducing these allergenic foods is booting the risk for allergy.  Research has demonstrated that when babies are fed peanut at an earlier age, they are less likely to develop allergies.

But there’s a fundamental issue that’s been left out of the discussion. Before the research on early or late introduction began, the rate of peanut allergy was already skyrocketing.  That’s why the research was conducted in the first place.

Parents used to feed their kids peanuts at an early age and only stopped doing so because of the rise in severe peanut allergies.

After writing about the vitamin D-peanut allergy link, I read a piece by Dr. James Aw, in the National Post, where he talks about research on children in the U.K. compared to those in Israel.  The study of  5171 subjects in the UK and 5615 in Israel,  published in the  Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,   showed there is a 10-fold increase in peanut allergies in the U.K.

The researchers state,  “The most obvious difference in the diet of infants in both populations occurs in the introduction of peanut. Israeli infants are introduced to peanut during early weaning and continue to eat peanut more frequently and in higher amounts than UK infants, who avoid peanut, as per Department of Health recommendations.”

So I checked to see if vitamin D status was assessed in the study.  It was not. Nowhere in the published report is vitamin D discussed.

© Pauladan | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Pauladan | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Nemosdad | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Nemosdad | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

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But if you look at the two countries, the U.K. and its northern latitude, and the sunny climes of Israel, it just seems to lend more evidence to the vitamin D theory.

Obviously more research needs to be conducted on the issue but don’t wait for the final verdict. Kids need to get their vitamin D now.

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What are your thoughts about the issue? Please share in the comment section below.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Children's Health

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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