15 June 2009
Low Doses May Help Cure Food Allergies
Dreaded milk or peanut allergies might not be forever. Researchers have found some success treating kids with very, very low doses of the allergenic substances.
One study had 33 children with peanut allergies eat peanut protein powder equivalent to one-thousandth of a peanut. Four of the children had to drop out because of allergic reactions, but six of nine children who stuck with the program for a few years are currently reaction-free regarding peanuts.
This oral immunotherapy is clearly a promising approach for some, if not all. Previous attempts to desensitize people to food allergies failed, and often triggered potentially life-threatening reactions. The difference in the new studies involves using just the protein within foods such as milk and peanuts which trigger allergic reactions.
Researchers still consider this to be a very early and experimental method, and note in the article that parents should NOT try this at home. There is still always the risk of triggering dangerous allergic reactions.
Food allergies continue to affect millions of Americans, and studies have only begun to tease out when and why they develop. But some researchers suggest that avoiding peanuts or other foods early in life may only make matters worse.