Feeding children with milk allergies increasingly higher
"doses" of milk might help them
overcome, or at least ease, allergic reactions over time,
according to results of a small study led by
Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers.
Researchers compared allergic reactions to milk in 11
children ages 6 to 17 with known milk
allergies. Five of the children were given increasingly
higher doses of milk powder, starting at less
than .001 ounces, slowly working their way up to .01 ounces
over several months, and eventually
consuming anywhere between .08 ounces and .2 ounces. The
other six children received a placebo that
tasted and looked identical to milk powder.
After six months, both groups were given milk products
in a medical setting. The five children
who had received regular doses of the dairy substance were
better able to tolerate the foods with
fewer symptoms, such as hives and upset stomach, compared
to the six children who took the placebo.
Even though the children who increasingly consumed milk
during the study had more antibodies against
it in their blood, they ultimately processed the foods
better than those who took the placebo.
"Oral immunotherapy appears to slowly retrain the
immune system to tolerate the allergens in
milk that previously caused allergic reactions," said
Robert Wood, senior investigator on the study and
Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's
Food allergies have been steadily rising in the last
decade and are becoming harder to outgrow,
research shows. An estimated 2.5 percent of U.S. children
under the age of 5 have milk allergies.
Wood cautions that the findings are preliminary and
parents and caregivers should not try to
conduct oral immunotherapy without medical supervision.
— Katerina Pesheva