Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study: Feasibility of an early allergenic food introduction regimen

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Abstract

Background The influence of early exposure to allergenic foods on the subsequent development of food allergy remains uncertain. Objective We sought to determine the feasibility of the early introduction of multiple allergenic foods to exclusively breast-fed infants from 3 months of age and the effect on breastfeeding performance. Methods We performed a randomized controlled trial. The early introduction group (EIG) continued breastfeeding with sequential introduction of 6 allergenic foods: cow's milk, peanut, hard-boiled hen's egg, sesame, whitefish (cod), and wheat; the standard introduction group followed the UK infant feeding recommendations of exclusive breastfeeding for around 6 months with no introduction of allergenic foods before 6 months of age. Results One thousand three hundred three infants were enrolled. By 5 months of age, the median frequency of consumption of all 6 foods was 2 to 3 times per week for every food in the EIG and no consumption for every food in the standard introduction group (P < .001 for every comparison). By 6 months of age, nonintroduction of the allergenic foods in the EIG was less than 5% for each of the 6 foods. Achievement of the stringent per-protocol consumption target for the EIG proved more difficult (42% of evaluable EIG participants). Breastfeeding rates in both groups significantly exceeded UK government data for equivalent mothers (P < .001 at 6 and at 9 months of age). Conclusion Early introduction, before 6 months of age, of at least some amount of multiple allergenic foods appears achievable and did not affect breastfeeding. This has important implications for the evaluation of food allergy prevention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1486
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume137
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Food allergy
  • diet
  • allergens
  • infancy
  • breastfeeding

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