New Breakfast Staple for Babies: Eggs

Egg allergies may be avoided by early introduction

(RxWiki News) Parents often wake their children by asking, "What do you want for breakfast?" It's time to start serving up those eggs for babies.

A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that very early introduction of eggs may prevent the development of egg allergies in young children.

"Introduce eggs to infants before 6 months of age."

Katie Allen, M.D., leading allergy researcher at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and pediatrician at The Royal Children's Hospital helped lead a study of more than 2,500 infants to determine whether the timing of egg introduction had an impact on the development of egg allergies.

The findings showed that babies who were given eggs after 12 months of age had three times the risk (28%) of developing egg allergies by 14 to 18 months old compared to the babies who were given eggs at four to six months of age (6%). Family history had no impact on the egg allergy development. 

Boiled, scrambled, poached or fried eggs conferred more protection than baked forms like biscuits and muffins.

The study found no association between egg allergy and breastfeeding. When the babies were first introduced solid foods also had no association with egg allergy development.

Food allergies often develop early on in a child's life and can significantly impact the quality of life for both the family and child. Children usually outgrow egg allergies but this initial allergy puts them at an increased risk of developing conditions like asthma, allergenic rhinitis, peanut allergies and other tree nut allergies. These conditions could possibly linger throughout their adult lives.

Jennifer Koplin, Ph.D., co-author and scholar at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Melbourne reports that until recently, international guidelines recommended that babies with a family history of food allergies should not be given allergenic foods like peanuts, nuts and eggs until 3 years old.

“Our study suggests that babies who ingest these foods at an earlier age may be less likely to develop food allergies as they grow older. It seems that early introduction of egg may protect against egg allergy, while delaying its introduction may put the child at increased risk of developing an allergy,” said Koplin.

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Review Date: 
July 18, 2011