How to prevent food allergies by breastfeeding
According to new studies by researchers at The University of Western Australia, breastfeeding mothers may be encouraged to eat eggs to help prevent babies from developing an egg allergy. Study leader Professor Valerie Verhasselt, from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences, said the findings were important because in western countries up to 10% of children already have a food allergy at one year of age.
“Our new study shows for the first time that this may also happen in humans. We’ve found that cases of egg allergy in children are four times less likely when they have been exposed to breastmilk containing egg protein, compared to those exposed to breastmilk without detectable egg protein.”
Targeting house dust mites allergens in breastmilk may be an additional key to ensure food allergy prevention in breastfed children. The team at UWA was also able to uncover that some mothers shed house dust mite allergens in breastmilk. House dust mite allergens are known to be responsible for respiratory allergies such as rhinitis and asthma.
“By conducting pre-clinical experiments, we demonstrated the very new concept that respiratory allergens in a baby’s gut may represent a risk factor for food allergies,” Professor Verhasselt said. “Targeting respiratory allergens may be essential for the prevention of egg allergy in breastfed children.”