Peanut Flour May Ease Peanut Allergy
Researchers Report Promising Results From Early Study but Warn Against Trying Their Technique at Home
Feb. 20, 2009 -- Eating a tiny bit of peanut flour every day may increase
peanut tolerance in children who are allergic to peanuts, a new study
But the scientists who conducted the study aren't recommending their
strategy as a do-it-yourself treatment for peanut allergy.
"However encouraging, these results are preliminary and [the technique]
should not yet be attempted outside clinical trials," the researchers write
online in the journal Allergy.
The study was very small -- it included only four children 9-13 with peanut
allergies. But last year, other researchers reported success when they tried a
similar approach with 20 U.S. children with peanut allergies.
In the new study, conducted in England, the children took allergy tests and
the researchers gauged the maximum dose of peanuts that they could tolerate
without having a severe reaction. That test showed that the children couldn't
tolerate a single peanut without quickly having an allergic reaction; one child
needed an adrenaline shot after developing anaphylaxis.
Each child went home with instructions to eat 5 milligrams of peanut flour
mixed with yogurt each day, gradually adding more peanut flour over the next
six weeks. The basic idea was to ramp up their tolerance, little by little.
After six weeks of eating the peanut flour-yogurt combination, which didn't
prompt any major problems, the researchers retested the children's maximum
tolerable peanut dose. All four children could tolerate at least 10 peanuts at
That doesn't mean that their allergy is gone, but it does provide a bit of a
margin in case they accidentally consume a few peanuts, note the researchers,
who included Andy Clark, a doctor at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge,
"We've got them to a point where they can safely eat at least 10 whole
peanuts. It's not a permanent cure, but as long as they go on taking a daily
dose they should maintain their tolerance," Clark says in a news