Reduced risk of peanut sensitization following exposure through breast-feeding and early peanut introduction

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Abstract

Background:

Recent trials have shown that avoiding peanuts during infancy increases the risk of peanut allergy; however, these studies did not address maternal peanut consumption.

Objective:

We sought to investigate the relationship between maternal peanut consumption while breast-feeding, timing of direct peanut introduction, and peanut sensitization at age 7 years.

Methods:

Secondary analysis of a nested cohort within the 1995 Canadian Asthma Primary Prevention Study intervention study was performed. Breast-feeding and maternal and infant peanut consumption were captured by repeated questionnaires during infancy. Skin prick testing for peanut sensitization was performed at age 7 years.

Results:

Overall, 58.2% of mothers consumed peanuts while breast-feeding and 22.5% directly introduced peanuts to their infant by 12 months. At 7 years, 9.4% of children were sensitized to peanuts. The lowest incidence (1.7%) was observed among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breast-feeding and directly introduced peanuts before 12 months. Incidence was significantly higher (P< .05) if mothers consumed peanuts while breast-feeding but delayed introducing peanuts to their infant beyond 12 months (15.1%), or if mothers avoided peanuts themselves but directly introduced peanuts by 12 months (17.6%). Interaction analyses controlling for study group and maternal atopy confirmed that maternal peanut consumption while breast-feeding and infant peanut consumption by 12 months were protective in combination, whereas either exposure in isolation was associated with an increased risk of sensitization (Pinteraction = .003).

Conclusions:

In this secondary analysis, maternal peanut consumption while breast-feeding paired with direct introduction of peanuts in the first year of life was associated with the lowest risk of peanut sensitization, compared with all other combinations of maternal and infant peanut consumption.

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