News & Info

NEW Peanut Allergy Prevention Research Makes Big News

Led by Dr. Gideon Lack, Kings College London Professor, LEAP-Trio Lead Investigator, and Mission Mighty Me co-founder

The sheer volume of major news publications that covered The LEAP-Trio Study underlines the importance of these new findings: there are long-term protective effects to early and regular peanut consumption.

We want to give you a synopsis of some of the top news coverage of this groundbreaking research, in order to continue to educate our audience and to provide more information on the importance of peanut allergy prevention. 

Babies who started eating peanut foods in the first year of life, and consumed them regularly until age 5, had a 71% reduction in peanut allergy as teenagers, whether they continued eating peanut foods after age 5 or not. 

About 500 children were assessed again for the LEAP-Trio trial, which looked at the rate of peanut allergy at around age 12.

At that age, peanut allergy remained “significantly more prevalent” among the children who originally avoided peanuts, with about 15% having a peanut allergy. Among those who originally consumed peanuts, about 4% had a peanut allergy, the researchers found. They wrote that it represents “a 71% reduction in the prevalence of peanut allergy at the LEAP-Trio time point.”

Allergist and immunologist Dr. Gideon Lack’s first inkling that some peanut allergies might be preventable came more than 20 years ago while he was giving a talk in Tel Aviv.

Lack, a professor of pediatric allergies at King’s College London, asked an audience of roughly 200 Israeli allergists how many children with peanut allergies they had treated in the last year. When he asked that question during similar talks in the U.S. and U.K., nearly every hand in the room shot up. To his surprise, only two or three Israeli doctors raised their hands.

He did some research and zeroed in on a key difference: Parents in the U.S. and U.K. were told not to give their infants any peanut products until the age of 3 as a precaution against future peanut allergies. In contrast, puffy peanut snacks were a favorite staple of many Israeli babies’ diets.Read the full article

“Today’s findings should reinforce parents’ and caregivers’ confidence that feeding their young children peanut products beginning in infancy according to established guidelines can provide lasting protection from peanut allergy,” NIAID Director Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo said in a press release for the study. “If widely implemented, this safe, simple strategy could prevent tens of thousands of cases of peanut allergy among the 3.6 million children born in the United States each year.”

The simple dietary intervention could prevent about 10,000 cases of potentially life-threatening peanut allergies each year in the UK alone, doctors said, and cut global cases by 100,000 annually.

Rates of peanut allergy have risen in many western countries in recent decades. One in 50 children in the UK now have the allergy, with about 14,000 newly diagnosed each year. Although 20% of children typically grow out of the allergy, for the rest the condition can mean avoiding peanuts for life and the inevitable worry of a severe allergic reaction if they accidentally come into contact with the food.

The original results showed eating peanut butter led to a dramatic reduction in allergies by the time children celebrated their fifth birthdays.

But would that protection last or would those children need to take peanut constantly to stay protected?

The findings, now published in NEJM Evidence, showed the protection lasts whether children kept eating peanut or removed it from their diet.

In their teenage years:

  • Some 15 out of every 100 high-risk children that avoided peanut as an infant developed an allergy
  • Just four out of every 100 high-risk children that regularly ate peanut as an infant developed an allergy
  • It marked a reduction in allergy of 71%
  • Whether children kept eating peanut after five did not matter

"The findings of the original LEAP study have now been replicated in other lower-risk normal populations and therefore are applicable to the general population."

These findings could likely be effective for other types of food allergies, the researchers said.

Read the full LEAP-Trio Study: