Peanut allergy treatment is lifechanging

Australian researchers have made an incredible breakthrough in how peanut allergies in children are treated.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute conducted a small clinical trial by giving a group of kids an experimental immunotherapy treatment. Two out of three children were desensitised for up to four years later and 70 per cent of the children passed a test that confirms long-term tolerance. In other words, it’s life-changing.

“These children had been eating peanut freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” lead researcher, Professor Mimi Tang explains.

Professor Tan, who is also an immunologist and allergist, combined a probiotic with peanut oral immunotherapy, known as PPOIT, for the treatment. The probiotic changes how the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen, specifically peanuts.

“The probiotic acts on the immune system, encourages the immune system to generate a protective, or tolerance, response rather than allergy,” said Professor Tang.

According to Professor Tang, we could see the product on shelves in the next five years.

With this news, parents will soon be worry-free when seeing their children off to school or parties. “Having a child with a peanut allergy is incredibly stressful for parents as you never know where or when they’re going to be exposed to peanuts, and you can’t always be there to do something about it,” says dietitian Melanie McGrice, who is also the author of The Pregnancy Weight Plan.

“One in 10 children will develop a food allergy, with peanut allergies being one of the most common,” McGrice tells us. (Peanut allergies are also the most common cause of anaphylaxis.)

“We’ve known for a while that children who receive better exposure to healthy bacteria through breast feeding, vaginal birthing and hugs and kisses are less likely to develop food allergies than those who don’t,” adds McGrice. “This new research suggests that probiotics can not only help in the prevention of peanut allergy, but also in the treatment.”

While this is an exciting discovery, be sure to speak to your family GP to learn more about what's right for you and your family.*