New Research From Southampton- Preventing Food Allergies

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Food allergies are not only a huge pain for those that have to cope with them but also more seriously can lead to lose of life in some cases. From a mothers point of view it can not only be a worry having a child with an allergy it can also be a hassle. Therefore any knowledge that allows mothers to minimise the chance of their child developing a food allergy is likely to be gratefully accepted.

Research published by the University of Southampton shows an easy change mothers can make to decrease the chance of their child developing a food allergy. The research shows how simply introducing solid food at 17 weeks while breast feeding could reduce food allergies in babies. This is due to the fact that introducing solid food at 17 weeks as well as breast feeding helps the child to develop a strong immune system.

The study led by Dr Kate Grimshaw and published in paediatrics found that children given solids at 16 weeks or earlier were more likely to develop food allergies, as were those who were not being breast fed when introduced to solids. For those not breast feeding the advice is also to avoid solids until the child is at least 17 weeks old.

Dr grim offers this as an explanation of how introducing solids while breast feeding may help develop the immune system “Introducing solid foods alongside breastfeeding can benefit the immune system….It appears the immune system becomes educated when there is an overlap of solids and breast milk because the milk promotes tolerogenic mechanisms against the solids”

The exact causes of food allergies and the role of genetic versus environmental factors in the development of food allergies is still not fully understood. However research such as this should help to reduce at least some of the cases.

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