With growing evidence of an increase in the prevalence, food allergy has been emerged as a new public health problem. As treatment and management of food allergy remain challenging, more attention has been paid to the importance of prevention of food allergy. Although the exact mechanism of recent epidemic is not fully understood, it is suggested that nutritional exposure in early life may play an important role in food allergy development. The underlying hypothesis is that nutritional status or food exposure in the critical period of fetal development can affect the programming of immune system and modify the risk of immunologic reactions to foods in postnatal life. We review accumulating epidemiological studies to examine an association between nutritional exposure during pregnancy or early infancy and food allergy development in children. We also discuss recent advances in the studies of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of food allergy and evaluate the role of early nutrition in food allergy development to provide a new perspective on the prevention of food allergy.
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© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2016.
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