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Prevention of food allergy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

George du Toit, Teresa Tsakok, Simon Lack, Gideon Lack

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1010
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Early online date5 Apr 2016
Accepted/In press19 Feb 2016
E-pub ahead of print5 Apr 2016
PublishedApr 2016


  • 1-s2.0-S0091674916002888-main

    1_s2.0_S0091674916002888_main.pdf, 1.64 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:06 Apr 2016

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY-NC-ND

King's Authors


The past few decades have witnessed an increase in the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergy (FA). For prevention strategies to be effective, we need to understand the causative factors underpinning this rise. Genetic factors are clearly important in the development of FA, but given the dramatic increase in prevalence over a short period of human evolution, it is unlikely that FA arises through germline genetic changes alone. A plausible hypothesis is that 1 or more environmental exposures, or lack thereof, induce epigenetic changes that result in interruption of the default immunologic state of tolerance. Strategies for the prevention of FA might include primary prevention, which seeks to prevent the onset of IgE sensitization; secondary prevention, which seeks to interrupt the development of FA in IgE-sensitized children; and tertiary prevention, which seeks to reduce the expression of end-organ allergic disease in children with established FA. This review emphasizes the prevention of IgE-mediated FA through dietary manipulation, among other strategies; in particular, we focus on recent interventional studies in this field.

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