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Allergenic foods should be introduced earlier in life to cut risks of developing allergies

An American review into allergenic food tolerance has found that introduction to certain food types earlier on in life can reduce the risks of developing allergies.  

An American review into allergenic food tolerance has found that introduction to certain food types earlier on in life can reduce the risks of developing allergies.  


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Introducing foods that are potentially allergenic is a topic that has been the subject of much discussion. It was thought that avoiding allergenic foods while the immune system was developing was preferable and might mean that a child did not go on to develop allergies.

This systematic review aimed to explore the association between the timing of introducing potentially allergenic foods to infants and food allergy development.

Major databases were searched for studies published after 2000 using the terms: solid food, complementary food or infant feeding, allergy and hypersensitivity.

Of the 533 articles found, 14 met the criteria for inclusion. The findings revealed that delaying introducing solid foods in allergenic and non-allergenic foods did not lead to a decreased risk for allergic diseases in high and low-risk babies. The evidence suggested that delaying (after nine months of age) the introduction of potentially allergenic foods like chickens’ eggs, peanuts and fish, might increase the risk of developing food allergies.

It is recommended by this US study that infants at low risk of developing allergies should be advised to introduce potentially allergenic foods with other foods between four and six months of age. Infants at high risk for peanut allergy should have an individualised plan for introducing peanuts and other allergenic foods as needed.


Larson K, McLaughlin J, Stonehouse M et al (2017) Introducing Allergenic Food into Infants' Diets: Systematic Review. MCN,  American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000329.

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