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Infants Experiencing Symptoms of Allergic Reactions to Food From Breastmilk May be More Likely to Develop Lingering Food Allergies to Certain Foods

AAAAI News Release

2021 Virtual Annual Meeting Press

February 1, 2021

April Presnell
(414) 272-6071

Data scheduled for presentation during the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting, taking place February 26-March 1, examines reactions to peanut, egg, and cow’s milk in breastfeeding infants.

MILWAUKEE, WI – According to new research scheduled for presentation during the 2021 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Virtual Annual Meeting, infants’ reactions to certain food allergens during breastfeeding may offer hints about what food allergies they may continue to have later in life.

While the abstract of this research was included in an online supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that was published February 1, the full poster (#298) will be presented at the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting.

Peanut, egg, and cow’s milk were selected for the study. Subjects were identified from the Chicago Food Allergy Study (2005-2011) and categorized by reactions to these foods during breastfeeding. Researchers examined development of tolerance based on if the child passed an oral food challenge (OFC) or later consumed the food in question. Data was obtained from parental reports.

A total of 50 subjects showed peanut-associated symptoms during breastfeeding, and none of them went on to gain tolerance to peanut. Researchers found no significant association between egg and milk allergy-related symptoms during breastfeeding and persistent food allergies to egg or cow’s milk. However, subjects who had egg-related symptoms while breastfeeding all went on to report multiple food allergies. This was not the case for subjects with cow’s milk and peanut allergy symptoms. Symptomatic reactions to any of the allergens during breastfeeding were not associated with a risk of more severe allergic reactions later in life.

Abigail Lang, MD, first author of the study, discussed what this means for future research. “We had predicted that a clinical reaction to food allergens passed through breastmilk could correspond to a decreased chance of developing tolerance later in life. While this was true for peanut, we didn’t see the same results for infants with reactions to cow’s milk and egg. In future research it will be important to look closer at infants who react to peanut in breastmilk to see if there is something different about them that might make them less likely to outgrow their food allergy. In addition, we would like to investigate why egg-related symptoms during breastfeeding correlated to multiple food allergies later in life.”

Visit to learn more about food allergies and visit to learn more about the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has over 7,000 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.