Health Medical

Boiled peanuts could help overcome peanut allergy in children


HQ Team

January 13, 2023: Boiling peanuts for up to 12 hours can help children overcome any allergic reaction to this legume, according to the results of a clinical trial at Flinders University and SAHMRI in Australia. Over 80% of children with peanut allergy became desensitised to eating peanuts in this trial.

The trial was conducted based on previous research carried out by the senior author and Associate Professor at Flinders University,Tim Chataway,  showing that heat affects the protein structure and allergic properties of peanuts, meaning they were less likely to cause a severe allergic reaction.

The two-step therapy gave sequential doses of boiled peanuts, followed by roasted peanuts, to see if it helped children overcome their peanut allergies. This novel two-step therapy was tested in anticipation of achieving the daily targets of participants consuming 12 roasted peanuts without allergic reactions. 

The children were given increasing doses of boiled nuts to partially desensitise them, and the dose was increased based on the absence of reaction.

This multi-step process is known as oral immunotherapy. Seventy peanut-allergic children between the ages of 6 and i18 years were given peanuts boiled for 12 hours for 12 weeks, 2-hour boiled peanuts for 20 weeks, and roasted peanuts for 20 weeks.

56 of the 70 (80%) participants became desensitized to the target dose of peanuts. Treatment-related adverse events were reported in 43 (61%) of participants; however, only 3 withdrew from the trial as a result, demonstrating a favourable safety profile.   

Flinders University College of Medicine and Public Health and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Associate Professor Luke Grzeskowiak, the lead author of the study, says,

“Our clinical trial shows promising early signs in demonstrating that boiling peanuts may provide a safe and effective method for treating peanut allergic children with sequential doses of boiled and roasted peanuts over an extended period of time.

“With no currently approved treatment for peanut allergy in Australia, there is a lot more research to be done. Unfortunately, oral immunotherapy doesn’t work for everyone, and we are in the process of improving our understanding of how these treatments work and what factors can influence how people respond to treatment. This will be really important for assessing individual suitability for treatment and improving treatment decisions in the future.”

The study authors believe that these findings hold great promise but a larger definitive clinical trial is needed for wider confirmation of the results.

Peanut allergy is the second most common food allergy in children and occurs in about 1 in 50 children. Peanut is the most likely food to cause anaphylaxis and death; It is estimated that there is one death for every 200 episodes of anaphylaxis. A 2017 study reported that peanut allergy in children had increased 21 per cent since 2010, and that nearly 2.5 per cent of U.S. children may have an allergy to peanuts. Nearly 20% of children are observed to grow out of this allergy.

The study is published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy,

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