Eating boiled peanuts may cure children of potentially fatal allergy

ADELAIDE, Australia — Feeding children boiled peanuts may cure them of the potentially fatal allergy, according to new research.

Researchers from Flinders University say a trial involving dozens of children between six and 18 years-old found they lost their allergy to peanuts within a few months. The condition complicates the lives of up to one in 50 children and one in 200 adults. Any contact with the snack food could trigger a reaction or even anaphylactic shock.

It leads to parents having to take precautions at birthday parties, holidays, and even the typically dinner at a restaurant. The groundbreaking findings could transform the lives of thousands of young people, offering hope of a cheap alternative treatment.

“Oral immunotherapy using boiled followed by roasted peanuts represents a pragmatic approach that appears effective in inducing desensitization and is associated with a favorable safety profile,” the study authors write in a media release.

Heat affects the peanut’s structure and potency. The 70 previously diagnosed patients received peanuts that had been boiled for 12 hours for 12 weeks. They were then given similar increasing amounts of roasted peanuts for 20 weeks until reaching a target dose of 12 peanuts a day.

By the end of the study, 56 of the 70 participants (80%) were able to tolerate them without developing any symptoms. Three dropped out due to adverse side-effects.

Food allergies are widespread and rising fast in the western world, with peanut allergies being the most common, according to researchers.

“Only one in five children grow out of their peanut allergy, with avoidance and medications the recognized mainstay of treatment for many years,” study authors say, according to a statement from SWNS.

“However, avoidance of peanuts provides many challenges for children and their parents, given peanuts are widely present in many foods and there remains risk of contamination of many products during manufacturing processes,” the team adds. “This requires children and parents to be hypervigilant regarding peanut ingestion and creates a significant burden on children and their families.”

Most current therapies involve using tiny amounts of carefully prepared peanut flour. It can be expensive and isn’t available in all healthcare systems.

The technique described in Clinical & Experimental Allergy generated “promising results” and is also affordable, the team reports. Boiling peanuts destroys proteins that trigger the immune system’s allergic reaction.

The idea is to give patients small doses of boiled peanuts over an extended period of time. However, parents should not attempt to self-medicate their children or attempt the therapy themselves. Researchers add a longer term follow-up showed almost all (96%) volunteers were continuing to eat peanuts without incident.

“This approach of oral immunotherapy was well tolerated and had a very low frequency of medication use,” the team tells SWNS.

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

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  1. Je ne suis pas sur de bien comprendre: …bouillir 12 heures pendant 12 semaines… ce serait pareil que les faire bouillir pendant 6 semaines (24h non stop) bonjour la facture d’eau et d’énergie. Je ne vois pas ce qui peut rester de la cacahuete après ça 😉

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