Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No-No Nuts: Asthma and Eating Peanut Butter in Pregnancy

So maybe you pregnant gals might want to cut out that 3:00 pm PB&J. Dutch researchers reported this week that pregnant women who ate peanut butter or other nut products every day birthed children with a 50% greater likelihood of developing asthma.

Okay, before we jettison the Jiffy, this finding hasn't been replicated. As lead researcher Saskia Willers reminded us, this is the first documented evidence of a link between perinatal peanut butter and childhood asthma. Also, moderate amounts of peanuts didn't seem to matter. I know I craved peanut butter during pregnancy but pretty much refrained from nuts during the last two pregnancies (didn't know about this the first time around) due to my own history of allergies - on the advice of my allergist. My pediatrician didn't exactly agree with my restricted diet. I'd like to think I chose the right peanut-related path.

Stay tuned on the issue. We've not heard the last word on nuts and asthma. On a related note, I believe epidemiologists at Duke are looking at whether keeping kiddies away from nuts prevents allergies and asthma. I've kept my kiddies nut-free, or mostly nut-free for the first three years, so I'm anxious to know if I've innoculated them so to speak, or on the flip side, increased their odds for autoimmune events. I'll put my money on the former, but just in case of the latter, I'm not holding off the nuts until age 7. Doesn't it seem like these studies should have been done already??

You can read an interview with the lead author at MSNBC. Or read the short version of the research over at The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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