AllerGen researchers comment on Canadian recommendation to introduce potentially allergenic foods as early as six months
AllerGen investigators Drs Anne Ellis and Stuart Turvey recently commented on a joint position statement issued by Canadian pediatricians and allergists, which recommends that babies at risk for food allergies may eat potential “trigger” foods as early as six months.
Dr. Ellis, an associate professor of medicine and Chair of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Queen’s University, spoke with the CBC’s Ontario Morning in a phone interview.
“These recommendations reflect what allergists have been recommending for a couple of years now,” Dr. Ellis said. “There is clear-cut evidence from the research that the recommendations we have been following for so long — delaying the introduction of high-risk allergenic foods — truly did not do anything to prevent the development of food allergies, and possibly could be associated with the increase in allergies that we have seen over the past 10 years.”
Dr. Turvey is an associate professor of pediatric immunology at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver site leader for AllerGen’s Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal (CHILD) Study — a national birth cohort study investigating the early-life influence of genes and the environment on the development of allergies and asthma.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Dr. Turvey suggested that the spike in asthma, seasonal allergies and food allergies in recent decades is likely multifactorial, influenced by such factors as air pollution, modern housing and a variety of lifestyle changes, including reduced contact with farm animals.
The position statement, issued jointly by the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) and the Canadian Society of Clinical Immunology (CSACI) on December 2, 2013, has also been endorsed by the Dietitians of Canada.