Boiled peanuts can desensitize children allergic to peanuts - study

Fifty-six of the 70 (80%) participants in the study became desensitized to peanuts.

 Illustrative image of peanuts. (photo credit: ALEXA/PIXABAY)
Illustrative image of peanuts.
(photo credit: ALEXA/PIXABAY)

Israeli pediatricians and allergy specialists were pioneers in recommending to parents that when their infants were able to eat solid foods, not to eat Bamba and other peanut snacks to avoid developing peanut allergies. But what is to be done with those children and teens who already are allergic? Can they be desensitized?

Researchers in Australia suggest that giving boiled peanuts followed by roasted peanuts could help children overcome peanut allergies. Their open-label, phase 2, single-arm clinical trial (with a sample of individuals with the targeted medical condition given the experimental therapy and then followed over time to observe their response) was just published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

Carried out by Dr. Luke Grzeskowiak, Dr. Billy Tao and colleagues at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, the study was entitled “Oral immunotherapy using boiled peanuts for treating peanut allergy: An open-label, single-arm trial generated promising results.”

Why does boiling peanuts make a difference?

Why does boiling peanuts make a difference? Since heat can affect the structure and immunoreactivity of peanuts, researchers recently tested whether a therapy using sequential doses of boiled and then roasted peanuts could promote desensitization.

BAMBA, Israel’s beloved peanut snack (credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/NSAUM75)BAMBA, Israel’s beloved peanut snack (credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/NSAUM75)

“Peanut allergy affects one to three percent of children in Western countries,” they wrote. “Boiling peanuts has been demonstrated to result in a hypoallergenic product that may provide a safer way of inducing desensitization in peanut-allergic patients by first inducing tolerance to boiled peanut. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy (OIT) using sequential doses of boiled peanuts followed by roasted peanuts for treating peanut allergy in children.”

For the trial, 70 children aged six to 18 with peanut allergies received peanuts boiled for 12 hours for 12 weeks, two-hour boiled peanuts for 20 weeks and roasted peanuts for 20 weeks, to a target maintenance dose of 12 roasted peanuts daily.

Fifty-six of the 70 participants (80%) became desensitized to peanuts. Treatment-related adverse events were reported in 43 participants (61%), three of whom withdrew from the trial.

“Oral immunotherapy using boiled followed by roasted peanuts represents a pragmatic approach that appears effective in inducing desensitization and is associated with a favorable safety profile,” they concluded.