Over the last 20 years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of anaphylactic allergies to peanuts. It’s really scary how many kids are suffering from this life-threatening allergy.
I know some of the recent research is saying that we should be introducing peanuts early and often to prevent peanut allergies. And this may be okay for the average child where the foundation of their microbiome, immune system and digestive tract has not been established properly but there is a better way if you are willing to do the work.
It is possible to decrease the chances of your child developing this serious anaphylactic allergy if we introduce foods in the right order to support the development of the microbiome and that is in line with proper growth and development of the human body.
Here Are The 3 Reasons That You Should Delay Peanut Introduction:
1. Establishing the microbiome
We have an ecosystem of microbes that live within our digestive tract called the microbiome. The foundation of these microbes are established between birth and age three (1). This foundation is built based on factors such as gaining healthy microbes from the birth canal in a vaginal birth, from breast milk, as well as the order in which foods are introduced, provides the proper foods for the microbes to diversify their colonies (2). The more diverse the colonies of bacteria and fungi of the microbiome, the healthier a person is and this also helps to dictate long-term health (3). Laying a strong foundation in those early years will determine your child’s future health.
If the microbiome is developed and established to be balanced and diverse, then this dictates how the immune system functions and a properly functioning immune system will react appropriately to allergenic foods (4). An anaphylactic allergy is an immune system not reacting appropriately to a substance in its environment.
2. Allow the lining of the digestive tract to become more developed
We are born with a porous, hyperpermable, leaky digestive tract. Therefore we need to be very careful what we put into the digestive tract as on the other side of the digestive tract membranes lies about 80% of the immune system. It is best to wait until the digestive tract is properly developed before we introduce hyperallergenic foods.
3. Allow the immune system to become more mature
The immune system does not fully mature until about 7 years of age. It is best to wait until the immune system is more mature to allow it to react appropriately to allergenic foods that it comes in contact with.
Therefore it is important to properly establish the microbiome, allow the lining of the digestive tract to become more developed and less porous, and the immune system to become more mature, then introduce peanuts at the age of three.
Despite the new research encouraging parents to introduce peanuts early, I’d suggest waiting until age three to introduce peanuts; pairing that with the food introduction plan that will properly build their microbiome, allow lining of the digestive tract to become less permeable and the immune system to become more mature and be able to respond appropriately.
N. Elazab, A. Mendy et al., “Probiotic Administration in Early Life, Atropy, and Asthma: A Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials,” Pediatrics 132, no. 3 (2013): e666-76.
C. Chassard, T. de Wouters, C. Lacroix, “Probiotics Tailored to the Infant: A Window of Opportunity,” Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2014), 26C: 141-147.
M. Blaser, Missing Microbes (Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2014), 197.
Pender J, Thijs C, Vink C, Stelma FF, Sniders B, Kummeling I, van der Brandt PA, Stobberingh EE. “Factors influencing the composition of the intestinal microbiota in early infancy. Pediatrics 118, no. 2 (2006 Aug): 511-21.