Boiling peanuts may calm kid's allergies

Boiling peanuts for up to 12 hours could help overcome allergic reactions in children.

Clinical trials conducted by Flinders University and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute found up to 80 per cent of children with a peanut allergy became desensitised after the boiling process.

The study involved children eating increasing amounts of boiled peanuts, followed by roasted peanuts.

It built on previous research which showed heat affected the protein structure and allergic properties of the nuts.

If children showed no signs of an allergic reaction to the boiled nuts, increasing doses of roasted peanuts were then provided to increase their tolerance in the next stage of treatment.

They were asked to consume peanuts boiled for 12 hours over a 12-week period, nuts boiled for two hours for 20 weeks, and then roasted peanuts for 20 weeks.

Of the 70 peanut-allergic children, aged six to 18, who took part 56 became desensitised to the target dose of peanuts.

And while 43 participants reported some adverse events, only three withdrew from the trial.

Lead author Luke Grzeskowiak said with up to three per cent of children in western countries grappling with peanut allergies, this clinical trial could help develop a treatment to reduce the risk of accidental peanut exposure.

"Our clinical trial shows promising early signs in demonstrating that boiling peanuts may provide a safe and effective method for treating peanut-allergic children," Professor Grzeskowiak said.

"With no currently approved treatment for peanut allergy in Australia there is a lot more research to be done.

"Unfortunately, oral immunotherapy doesn't work for everyone and we are in the process of improving our understanding of how these treatments work and what factors can influence how people respond to treatment."

The study was undertaken in collaboration with paediatric allergist Billy Tao, who has been developing the desensitisation process to treat peanut allergies for the past decade after being inspired by similar research in the 1990s.

The authors said while their findings, published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy, held great promise a larger clinical trial was needed to confirm the results.