Study reveals foods that can protect babies from food allergies
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Washington: New study reveals pregnant women or new moms don't need to say no to egg if they are worried about allergy threats to their little ones.
Rather, eating eggs, peanuts and shellfish during pregnancy may help protect the baby from food allergy symptoms, says a recent study. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have shown that pregnant mice, exposed to egg, transferred protective antibodies to their offsprings through their breast milk.
This research in mice reinforces recent guidance that women should not avoid allergenic foods while they are pregnant or breastfeeding. The research indicated that a mother's diet can protect nursing newborns against food allergies.
Researcher Dr. James R. Baker said that this elegantly designed and controlled study shows that mothers should feel free to eat a healthy and diverse diet throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding. "Eating a range of nutritious foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding will not promote food allergies in developing babies, and may protect them from food allergy," Baker added.
The study's findings are consistent with new dietary recommendations for pregnant and nursing mothers. Allergists now recommend that, unless mothers already have diagnosed food allergies, they should not avoid allergenic foods while pregnant and nursing.
At the same time, Baker noted that maternal and early childhood diets do not cause food allergies in children. Aided by a protein in the offspring's gut lining and some immune cells, the food protein-antibody complexes are taken up and introduced to the offspring's developing immune system, triggering the production of protective cells that suppress allergic reactions to the food.
These protective cells persist after antibodies from the mother are gone, promoting long-term tolerance to the food. A similar mechanism may offer protection to human infants.
The research is published in the journal of Experimental Medicine.