After eating a daily does of particular strain of Lactobacillus, a beneficial bacteria found in some fermented food products, 30 children that previously had peanut allergies were able to overcome their condition, according to a report by Australian News outlet.
The Researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia gave around 30 allergic children a daily dose of peanut protein together with a probiotic in an increasing amount over an 18-month period. The probiotic used in the study was Lactobacillus rhamnosus and the dose was equivalent to eating about 20 kilos of yogurt each day.
At the end of the trial 80 per cent of the children could eat peanuts without any reaction.
“Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved,” said lead researcher Mimi Tang.
“These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies.
Almost three in every 100 Australian children have a peanut allergy. “We focused on peanut allergy because it is usually lifelong and it is the most common cause of death from food anaphylaxis,” Associate Professor Tang said.
Further research is now required to confirm whether patients can still tolerate peanuts in the years to come.
“We will be conducting a follow up study where we ask children to take peanut back out of their diet for eight weeks and test them if they’re tolerant after that.”
Assoc Prof Tang warned about trying the treatment at home: “Some families might be thinking about trialling this at home and we would strongly advise against this, in our trial some children did experience allergic reactions, sometimes serious reactions.
More than 3 million Americans have some kind of reaction to peanuts. Like many other food allergies, it is on the rise in most industrialized countries, according to the National Institutes of Health. But researchers so far have not been able to determine the reason for the increase.
The reaction, though still relatively rare, can be life-threatening. Patients can go into anaphylaxis, a condition where muscles in the body tighten rapidly, restricting movement, limiting breathing and sometimes leading to death.