Most people with peanut allergies steer clear of the legume, but a new study from the National Institute of Health is suggesting that patients could some day do just the opposite.
NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found that controlled “peanut therapy” can reduce the allergic response by teens and adults.
According to the study’s press release, subjects 12 to 37 years old first underwent a “food challenge” to measure how much peanut they could eat before an allergic reaction ensued. The participants then engaged in 44 weeks of peanut therapy, which involved exposure to a small amount of peanut powder daily. After the therapy, a second food challenge was conducted and participants were found able to consume 10 times more peanut powder than their initial test. After 68 weeks, participants could consume even more powder without an allergic reaction.
During therapy some mild itching in the mouth of some participants was reported, which lead the study authors to still consider the therapy safe.
Even with this exciting find, the researchers caution that such therapy should only be administered by trained professionals and should not be engaged in by those with peanut allergies on their own. More studies have to be done to evaluate effectiveness and safety.
The study was published in the “Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology”.
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(H/T: Popular Science)