Peanut allergy breakthrough as scientists discover ‘life-changing’ treatment

Aussie researchers discover that boiled peanuts could help children overcome peanut allergies

  • Feeding children boiled peanuts can help them build tolerance to popular nut
  • Adelaide researchers tested theory on 70 kids aged six to eighteen-years-old 
  • They found up to 80 per cent of kids could eat 12 roasted peanuts after study
  • Immunotherapy could prove ‘life-changing’ for allergic children and parents

Thousands of Australians could soon get some reprieve from crippling peanut allergies after the discovery of a life-changing treatment.

Researchers found that by boiling peanuts, a key protein that ‘drives’ the body’s allergic response to the popular nut, was transformed, helping children over come their allergies.

Scientists in Adelaide have studied the impacts of the groundbreaking therapy on 70 children aged between six and eighteen years old with mild to moderate peanut allergies.

By slowly increasing their intake of boiled peanuts over the year-long study, the children’s bodies were able to build a tolerance to the nuts.

The results have proved ‘life-changing’ with up to 80 per cent of the kids able to consume 12 roasted peanuts without a reaction after the study.

Scientists in Adelaide studied the impacts of the therapy on 70 children aged six to eighteen-years-old who had a mild to moderate peanut allergy (stock image)

Scientists in Adelaide studied the impacts of the therapy on 70 children aged six to eighteen-years-old who had a mild to moderate peanut allergy (stock image)

The group started by taking small and slowly increasing amounts of peanuts that had been boiled for 12 hours, twice a day, for the first 12 weeks.

They then progressed to eating peanuts that had been boiled for two hours for 20 weeks before finally tackling roasted peanuts for the last 20 weeks.

Flinders University and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Associate Professor Luke Grzekowiak said most reactions had been mild.

He said 61 per cent of the children experienced some reaction over the course of the study, while three had required adrenalin.

By slowly increasing their intake of boiled peanuts over the year-long study, the children's bodies were able to build a tolerance to peanuts.

By slowly increasing their intake of boiled peanuts over the year-long study, the children’s bodies were able to build a tolerance to peanuts.

Prof Grzekowiak said the immunotherapy worked because the body is unable to recognise the structure of the peanut after it has been boiled. 

‘Boiled peanuts are much safer to be able to provide to children and help the body build tolerance,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald

‘It provides a high level of protection against accidentally biting into a chocolate bar with peanuts and having an allergic reaction.’

There is currently no approved therapy or treatment for peanut allergy in Australia, however there are some that that have been approved overseas. 

Scientists hope the findings of the ‘promising’ boiled peanut study can be tested in a larger clinical trial – however parents are warned not to replicate it at home. 

The children in the study started by taking small, slowly increasing amounts of peanuts that had been boiled for 12 hours, twice a day to build up their tolerance (stock image)

The children in the study started by taking small, slowly increasing amounts of peanuts that had been boiled for 12 hours, twice a day to build up their tolerance (stock image)

The immunotherapy requires children to be closely supervised by medics, with the consequences of home-boiled peanuts potentially fatal. 

Almost three per cent of Australian children have a peanut allergy at the age of one with about 20 per cent of children growing out of the allergy. 

However, some peanut allergies do not appear until later in life. 

It is one of the most common food allergies in childhood, with some people suffering a life-threatening reaction if only small amounts of peanuts are ingested. 

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