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Study Finds Potential Cure for Peanut Allergies

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
March 2, 2017
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Image: The Bump

Seats might be opening up at the peanut-free table; Australian researchers found a possible cure for people with potentially-fatal peanut allergies.

The secret’s in a daily dose of peanut protein powder and the probiotic  Lactobacillus rhamnosus. After eating this mixture in increasing amounts for 18 months, 80 percent of the participants in the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute study were able to eat peanuts, reaction-free.

A peanut allergy isn’t typically something kids outgrow. And when it comes to food anaphylaxis (a life-threatening type of allergic reaction), peanut allergies are the leading cause of death. So for the 30 kids who participated in the study, this breakthrough is a big deal.

“Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved,” lead researcher Mimi Tang tells The Guardian. “These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies.”

The next step: a followup study. Will these kids still be able to tolerate peanuts in a few years?

Tang cautions parents against trying to replicate this study. “Some families might be thinking about trialling this at home and we would strongly advise against this. In our trial some children did experience allergic reactions, sometimes serious reactions."

Allergies are becoming more and more common — between 1997 and 2007, the number of kids with food allergies increased nearly 20 percent. And babies with eczema are more prone to food allergies than others.

Unsure if your baby has a food allergy? Hives, itching, mouth swelling, vomiting and diarrhea, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath are all symptoms of a food allergy when they occur soon after eating a specific food. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned, and discuss setting up a test with a pediatric allergist.

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