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A Child’s Allergies Tied to Mother’s Diet

Update Date: Apr 19, 2014 10:17 AM EDT

Children who have food allergies have to be super careful about what they eat. For people with severe allergies, just one piece of food containing the allergen can lead to a potentially fatal reaction. Due to the dangers of allergens, researchers have been studying how allergens develop in order to find ways of desensitizing the body. In a new study, researches discovered a link between a child's allergies to the mother's diet.

"There is reason to worry about maternal diet during breast feeding and pregnancy with regard to food allergy outcomes in children. The diet may alter the nutrients and proteins in breast milk and affect the immune system. Studies thus far mostly suggest that a 'healthy' diet is important," stated Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics, allergy and immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York, USA.

The data Mills and her research team examined included six years of information on children's diets as well as information on the mother's diet. So far, the project has been going on for one year. They found that children from Israel were exposed to nuts at an earlier age than children from the United Kingdom were. They believe that early exposure might be the key in desensitizing the body. The researchers aim to uncover more about the relationship between children and mother's diets.

"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," Clare Mills, professor of allergy in the university's Institute of Inflammation and Repair, at the University of Manchester, UK, said. "This work has been coordinated at the Charité in Berlin and involves 12,000 people in samples from Iceland to Greece."

Mills added according to Medical Xpress, "Often people don't report allergies, but instead just cope with them. This means that we don't get to know about them. So we are working with patient groups, and setting up an online tool to allow people to record their allergy experiences."

The researchers hope that their study can help with future treatments for allergens.

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