Mount Sinai Logo Milk is an endearing product for many, but there are certain children who may be allergic to dairy products. A study conducted by Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Jaffe Food Allergy Institute has disclosed that inducing higher amount of foodstuffs comprising of baked milk may help most of them forgo their allergies.

As part of the study, 88 children in the age group of 2 to 17 years, who were tested positive for milk allergy, were examined for their tolerance levels to foods comprising of baked milk like muffins, waffles and cookies. The high temperatures used in the process of baking apparently result in the proteins in milk to go down that tends to reduce the allergenicity.

Over a period of 5 years, scientists have apparently used a cascade of food challenges to make children familiar with foods that constituted growing levels of less-heated parts of milk. When the study period concluded, it came to fore that 47% of children in the experimental set seemed to show toleration to unheated milk products such as skimmed milk, yoghurt and ice cream. On the other hand, only 22% in the control group appeared to show tolerance to these products. This revealed that consistent and progressive exposure to baked milk products triggers the rate at which children give up their milk allergies.

“This study shows that many children with allergies do not need to completely avoid all milk products. It’s also an encouraging sign that through careful medical supervision, children can grow out of their allergies much quicker,” shared Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, MD, co-author of the study, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics Allergy and Immunology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

In the first food challenge of the study, participants were given a simple muffin or waffle comprising baked milk. 65 out of 88 children, nearly 75%, seemingly encountered no allergic reactions. Parents of these children were advised on ways to include milk products such as muffins, cookies and cakes into the everyday diet of their kids. The children who showed reactivity to muffins continued to refrain from dairy products.

After a course of 6 to 12 months, the 65 children who succeeded in the initial muffin food challenge were made to undergo a 2nd challenge and were told to savor cheese pizza this time. Baked cheese contains higher levels of milk protein and is cooked at a lower temperature. 78% of them in this group seemingly faced no allergic responses and were told to have a diet inclusive of baked cheese. Children who developed allergy to baked cheese continued eating muffins and were told to revert back after a span of 6 to 12 months to face the pizza challenge. The study progressed if they didn’t show any allergies to it.

After an average of three years, the participants who did not seem to develop any reaction to baked cheese came back for the final food challenge, and were also made to consume foods with unheated milk such as skimmed milk, yogurt and ice cream.

Among the 65 children who succeeded with the initial muffin challenge, 60 percent apparently showed toleration to unheated milk. Scientists are yet to check if the results can be applied to clinical settings. They believe that it is a step towards the final goal of treating food allergies.

The study is published in the May 23 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.