I happened upon an article in the Guardian newspaper describing how giving peanut products in small amounts to infants under twelve months who are at risk of developing peanut allergy (those with eczema) may prevent peanut allergy in future.. As someone who specializes in the natural treatment of eczema and other skin disorders with Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, I find this intriguing.
It makes sense that if early contact with pets and farm animals decreases incidence of respiratory allergies, that measured exposure to peanut products in small amounts to infants under the age of 12 months who are at risk for peanut allergy (because of existing eczema), but that have not demonstrated any allergy to peanuts so far, might have such a food allergy prevented with small amounts of measured exposure to peanuts via peanut butter, peanut soup, or peanut in yogurt or kefir.
The Immature Gut and Peanut Products
Classical Chinese medicine did have a theory of immunization regarding measured exposure in tiny amounts to dried small pox lesions…But a whole nother emphasis in Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda, is food suitable to immature guts.
Children vomit easily, get tummy aches and diarrhea easily, and have more narrow palates than adults. That’s because their guts are immature. So if we were going to give peanut to infants in Chinese Medicine, we would give as soup, boiled in rice gruel, with a little grated ginger, another words in ways that help develop healthy Agni, or digestive fire. If we were to give peanut butter to an infant, mixed with a probiotic dairy product, it would be watered down into a dilute beverage, and again, perhaps with some spice, like cumin powder.
What’s Wrong with the American Diet for Kids?
In general, the Western diet for children, especially the American one, is too heavy on sugar, non-organic dairy products, wheat and the kind of cold and heavy foods that weaken digestive fire. On the other hand our diet is light on the bitter tasting vegetables that cleanse the gut and allow the digestive fire to flourish.
Too much cold, heavy, damp foods, from pizza to frozen yogurt and like putting a wet sponge on pilot light, or like adding ice cubes to soup. And its the judicious use of pungent, sour, and astringent flavors in food, such as found in spices and fermented foods (like yogurt) that stimulate our healthy physiological digestive fire (Agni in Ayurveda, Pi Hun Hua in Chinese Medicine).
The High Incidence of Peanut Allergy in Western Society
It is therefore interesting that one of the methods by which the children in the original study Peanuts to infants with eczema reduce food allergens were given peanuts as peanut butter mixed into probiotic products. Again, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda both speak about the importance of the gut and immunity. Indeed, one of the theories that explains such high incidence of allergy in western society involves the widespread damage to our guts wrought by the use and overuse of antibiotics, and also by vaccination. From the above Guardian article:
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system wrongly identifies harmless allergens such as pollen or dust as harmful and activates defence mechanisms. Scientists cannot say precisely why these have become more common, but most point the finger at lifestyle changes in developed countries. According to the “hygiene hypothesis”, in the past, our immune systems were more finely tuned, thanks to greater levels of infections and contact with a wider variety of microbes and parasitic worms during childhood. Clean water, pasteurisation and sterilisation, vaccinations and widespread antibiotic use have helped to dramatically increase life expectancy. The flip side is that we encounter far fewer infectious agents and, as a result, our immune systems are less well primed to tell friend from foe. There is plenty of research to support the theory. Last year, Swedish researchers found that children who live on dairy farms have one-tenth the risk of developing allergies compared with other children.
The increase in caesarian sections has also played a role. During vaginal births, babies come into contact with their mother’s bacteria as they pass through the birth canal, helping their immune systems develop. Studies have found that those born by C-section can be up to five times more likely to have allergies.
Shifts in western diets towards more processed food have narrowed the range of microbes in our guts, which play an important role in regulating immune responses. Vitamin D deficiency from spending less time outside, and a lack of exercise have also been blamed. “Western lifestyles are associated with higher rates of allergies, and it’s probably lots of factors adding together, rather than one specific cause,” says El-Shanawany. —from Could Peanut Studies Point to Cure for Allergens….
Caution: Test Your At-Risk Infant for Peanut Allergy Before Giving Peanut Containing Foods
Please Note: Allergy tests are recommended before exposing at-risk infants to peanut-containing foods between four and 11 months. This blog article by Eyton Shalom does not recommend randomly giving peanuts or other allergen foods to infants. Please follow the advice of your MD in responding to the info in this Guardian article.
All You Need to Know About Peanut Allergies and Symptoms to Look Out For
For more information on how to spot peanut allergies, and what to do if you do have them, check out this interesting article from the Positive HealthWellness website.
And now comes this, from the NY Times, Donald Trump’s favorite newspaper, about a new product developed by an M.D. called “Hello, Peanut”, approved by the FDA, that makes it easy for parents to introduce peanuts to infants. I am not endorsing the product, but, would like to share the info about it from the newspaper.
It should be noted that BEFORE you give Hello, Peanut to an infant at high risk for allergies because of eczema or an egg allergy to have their baby evaluated by a doctor and undergo skin or blood testing for peanut allergy before using the product. For more info, check out the Hello, Peanut website.
Please understand, IF YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS, then its dangerous to give them peanuts. The idea here is to PREVENT peanut allergy in those potentially susceptible, NOT that you can cure an allergy with measured exposure.
copyright eyton shalom, san diego, ca , september 2017 all rights reserved