Purpose of review
The aim of the article is to critically appraise the most relevant studies in the rapidly advancing field of food allergy prevention.
Epidemiologic studies identified atopic dermatitis as a strong risk factor for food allergy, with mounting evidence for impaired skin barrier and cutaneous inflammation in the pathogenesis. Additional risk factors include a family history of atopy, the timing of allergenic food introduction into the infant's diet, dietary diversity, vitamin D, and environmental factors, such as dog ownership. Early introduction of allergenic foods (such as peanut) into the infant diet was shown to significantly reduce the risk of food allergy in infants with risk factors, whereas studies targeting skin barrier function have produced conflicting results. Cumulative evidence supports dietary diversity during pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, and early childhood.
A variety of interventions have been evaluated for the prevention of atopic dermatitis and food allergy, often producing conflicting results. At present, official guidelines encourage breastfeeding and early allergenic food introduction for infants at risk for food allergy, with an emphasis on dietary diversity, fruits, vegetables, fish, and food sources of vitamin D during pregnancy, lactation, and early life for all infants.