Review: Dietary prevention of allergic diseases in infants and small children

Breastfeeding is highly recommended for all infants irrespective of atopic heredity.

Recommendations for prevention of allergic diseases in high-risk infants:

1. The most effective dietary regimen is exclusively breastfeeding for at least 4–6 months.  Shorter duration and nonexclusivity of breastfeeding are associated with increased risk of asthma symptoms in children. ERJ January 1, 2012 vol. 39 no. 1 81-89.

2. In absence of breast milk, formulas with documented reduced allergenicity for at least the first 4 months.

3. Avoidance of solid food and cow's milk for the first 4 months.


Eight top allergens account for 90 percent of all food allergies. See more Allergy and Immunology mind maps here.

Fatty acids in breast milk, n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs), may have a protective role in the development of atopic disease.

References:

Review Up-date: Dietary prevention of allergic diseases in infants and small children. EAACI. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2008: 19: 1–4.
Introduction of cooked egg at 4 to 6 months of age might protect against egg allergy. http://goo.gl/YBf6
Food Allergy: Brief Review. Allergy Cases, 01/2008.
Infants with family history of allergies less likely to develop peanut allergy if they start solid foods before age 4 months. Reuters, 2011.
Food introduced before age 4 months reduces risk of peanut sensitization by age 2-3 years, but only if FMH is positive for asthma or allergy, JACI, 2011.
Shorter duration and nonexclusivity of breastfeeding are associated with increased risk of asthma symptoms in children. ERJ January 1, 2012 vol. 39 no. 1 81-89.

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