Study says that women who eat nuts during pregnancy may reduce risk of allergies in children

A new study says that mothers who eat nuts during pregnancy are less likely to have children with nut allergies than those who do not.

Conducted as part of the Nurses' Health Study II, the survey-based study used medical records and survey data from more than 8,200 children of mothers who took part in the NHSII.

Of the 8,200 analyzed, about 300 had food allergies. Of those, 140 were allergic to peanuts or tree nuts. Researchers found that mothers who ate the most tree nuts or peanuts during pregnancy (defined as five times a week or more) had the lowest risk of having children who developed an allergy to those nuts.

Support for 'exposure theory'

The report, published in JAMA Pediatrics, lends credence to the "exposure theory" some food allergists maintain. That theory states that children who are exposed to potential allergens early are less likely to become allergic.

The theory itself is controversial, of course, but does have some merit given recent studies into exposures and a related theory of immune response and immuno-exercise – the idea that an under-stimulated immune system is more likely to develop allergies than one that is actively engaged (some call this the "too-clean theory").

Regardless, while the findings don't necessarily prove a cause-and-effect, they do add to the support for theories of exposure and immune responses.

"The results of our study are not strong enough to make dietary recommendations for pregnant women," Dr. Ruchi Gupta, lead author of the study, said. "Our data should reassure pregnant women that they could eat nuts without causing the offspring to be allergic to nuts."

More Articles

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

More Articles

More Articles

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...

If you avoid peanuts, it’s likely you know the joy of cashews. Slightly sweet and smooth in texture, cashews provide not only relief to those with...

The prevalence of food allergy has dramatically increased over the past two to three decades, and not just among children. Preliminary results...

When someone in the family is diagnosed with a food allergy, a choice must be made whether to ban the problem food or foods from the home. The...

Looking for a fun way to share what you know about your own food allergies? Or are you hoping to educate the people around you in a fun way about...

According to the results of a new study, children lacking Vitamin D may be more susceptible to food allergies. Researchers working at the Albert...

If you or your child has a peanut or nut allergy, identifying the presence of nuts in food becomes a priority, but what if the written or spoken...

Soap allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and itching. If you suddenly develop a rash or bumps on your skin, you may suspect that you have an...