- Kings College London
- Start date
- End date
This research project is a randomised controlled intervention study which aims to explore the effect of early introduction (from 3 months of age) of allergenic foods, under dietetic direction on the later development of food allergy, in infants from the general population.
The study plans to recruit 1300 infants who have been exclusively breastfed to 3 months of age to participate in the study. Infants will then be randomly split into two arms. One half (the intervention arm) will introduce sequentially, a number of allergenic foods (egg, milk, wheat, sesame, fish and peanut) into the diet under close dietetic direction, alongside continued breastfeeding. The other half (the control arm) will be encouraged to follow the current Government weaning advice of exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age. Both arms will be encouraged to breast feed for at least six months and the study will follow the Department of Health Infant Feeding Recommendation that breast milk "should continue to be an important part of babies' diet for the first year of life".
Participants will be monitored until 3 years of age when the impact of the intervention on food allergy and other secondary allergy endpoints (eczema prevalence, inhalant allergen sensitization, atopic wheeze, phenotype and combined allergy prevalence) will be assessed.
- More information
Background: There is currently a lack of consensus on when is the best time to introduce allergenic foods into the infant diet in order to minimise the risk of development of later allergic disease, including food allergy. The UK Government recommends that infants are exclusively breastfed until six months of age, and that certain foods that can cause allergic reactions in some babies (e.g. egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, fish and shell fish) are best avoided before six months of age.
It is widely accepted that breast milk is the optimum food for early infant feeding for a number of reasons. However, it is currently unclear whether exclusion of allergenic foods from the infant diet is an effective primary prevention measure for allergenic disease. There is need for a clearer understanding of the influence of the timing and pattern of introduction of such foods into the infant diet on the later development of allergic disease such as eczema, food allergy and asthma. Recent research has suggested that delayed introduction of food allergens may not be as protective as previously thought and there is some preliminary evidence from human and animal model studies suggesting that high dose oral exposure to food proteins in early life might prevent the development of allergic sensitization. There is therefore a real need to conduct further research in this area to help the Agency to formulate sound advice about allergy prevention.
- Funding Source
- Food Standards Agency
- Project source
- View this project
- Project number
- FS231063 (T07051)
- Sanitation and Quality Standards
- Nuts, Seeds