Sunday, March 9, 2008
Nutrition and Childhood Allergy
The incidence of allergies in children has increased over the past several decades. Asthma has increased 160% and atopic dermatitis (eczema, rashes) has increased 2-3 fold. Peanut allergy has also doubled in the last decade.
A new report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in Pediatrics shows that breastfeeding for at least 4 months may help prevent allergies in high risk infants. The investigators also found that breastfeeding, compared with feeding cow milk formula protected against wheezing in early life. There was slight evidence that atopic dermatitis may be delayed or prevented by the use of partially hydrolyzed formulas compared with cow milk formulas in mothers who don't breastfeed. There was no advantage in using soy based infant formula.
The authors also found no evidence for delaying certain food groups after age 4-6 months as a protective effect. This included fish, eggs and products containing peanut protein.
All of the answers about the increased allergies in kids were not solved by this study and any time you are talking about the immune system and inflammation, there are more questions than answers.
But now Pediatricians can give solid advise to parents. "Breast feed exclusively for the first four months. If you must use formula, don't use cow milk formula. When you introduce foods, there is no evidence that certain foods trigger allergies."
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:07 AM