A new study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (NAIAD) says that introducing peanut-containing foods during infancy does not compromise breastfeeding or nutritional intake for the child. The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology.
The findings came alongside a Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) clinical trial conducted by NAIAD funding to the Immune Tolerance Network and King's College London.
LEAP trial results were published in 2015, with these new results being published now.
The LEAP trial received a lot of publicity for its conclusion that infants at high risk for peanut allergy were far less likely to develop one should they be exposed to it early in their development. This latest consequence found that adding peanut to the infants' diets did not adversely affect their other nutritional intake, including breast feeding.
In comparing infants who were fed moderate amounts of peanut as part of their diets to those who avoided peanut intake, the researchers found that there was no significant difference in average height, weight, or body mass index. Even infants fed a relatively high amount of peanut (6 grams of protein weekly) were not different in size or weight expectation from those who were not fed peanut.
"Overall, these findings indicate that early-life introduction of peanut-containing foods as a strategy to prevent the subsequent development of peanut allergy is both feasible and nutritionally safe, even at high levels of peanut consumption," said Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the Food Allergy, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic Mechanisms Section in NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, and a co-author of the paper.