Mom’s diet mirrors child’s food allergies
A long-term study evaluating maternal diet’s impact on food allergy in later life is expected to uncover causes of allergy in children. A particular focus for the project is the different effects of allergenic foods in different contexts.
A long-term study evaluating maternal diet’s impact on food allergy in later life is expected to uncover causes of allergy in children.About 20 million Europeans are subject to food allergies. Now scientists are looking at these allergies in new ways. It involves the food industry in its work and pays special attention to the link between early diets and allergy in later life. Clare Mills, professor of allergy in the university’s Institute of Inflammation and Repair, at the University of Manchester, UK, is the coordinator of iFAAM. This EU-funded research project follows in the footsteps of European research projects dating back for over a decade.In particular, the conclusions from a long-term study of a cohort of young people, now six years old, who have been tracked from birth and whose diets and allergies have been recorded, are now in sight. “Our aim is to see the allergy outcomes of their diet in early life, and even before they were born, as we have information on their mothers’ diets and on their weaning,” Mills tells CommNet, “This work has been coordinated at the Charit [University Hospital] in Berlin and involves 12,000 people in samples from Iceland to Greece.”Mills says that although the project has only been going for a year, this work is already producing interesting pointers. For example, a comparison between the UK and Israel shows that children in Israel typically eat nuts at an earlier age than in the UK. This suggests that such dietary habits may have a protective effect against nut allergies later on. “This means that the current advice that young children should avoid nuts may make things worse,” she observes.A particular focus for the project is the different effects of allergenic foods in different contexts. “Someone might react very differently to nuts in a cookie or in a chocolate dessert,” says Mills. …
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