Study suggests peanut allergy starts in the womb


by Sandra Parker

Posted on November 3, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 3 at 6:24 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- More than one million children nationwide have peanut allergies and that number continues to rise.  that's why a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is getting so much attention.

It found that of the f500 children tested, the ones whose mothers ate peanuts during pregnancy had nearly a three times greater chance of developing a peanut allergy.

Jennifer Elizondo is the owner of Navan Foods, an allergy-free food store in Virginia Beach. She's also the mother of three children with food sensitivities, including one with a peanut allergy.

She belives many parents will find the study confusing, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation in 2000 that women consider avoiding peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding if a parent or sibling had allergies.  That recommendation was withdrawn in 2008.

Dr. Angela Hogan, an Asthma and Allergy Specialist with CHKD, says in the past five years the number of people who have developed peanut allergies has doubled. 

"In high risk infants, I'm definitely going to rethink my thoughts and perhaps tell them that there is some new data that suggest they might want to avoid peanuts, at least during the third trimester, and I think that there may be some wisdom to that," she said.

One of Hogan's children has a peanut allergy.  She says she stopped eating peanuts during her second and third pregnancies and those children have no peanut allerty.

"As a mother of three children, I know certainly anything I could do to stack the odds in my favor potentially and keep them from being peanut allergic is something to consider," she added.

The study also showed that environment was not a factor here. The mother's diet was key in the study, including how many peanuts she ate and how often.

It's important to note the study also showed that eating peanuts while breastfeeding did not appear to have a significant impact.