The Natural History of Food Allergy

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. Mar-Apr 2016;4(2):196-203; quiz 204. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2015.11.024.


On a population level, it is well recognized that some IgE-mediated childhood food allergies, such as milk and egg allergies, are more likely to resolve than others, such as peanut and tree nuts allergies. Unfortunately, some studies suggest that resolution rates may have slowed compared with impressions from past decades. The clinician can apply the knowledge of the epidemiology of these allergies to describe likely patient outcomes, and direct management in a general manner. However, the ability to evaluate and predict the natural course of specific food allergies for individual patients is essential to inform personalized patient care. Data are accumulating to assist in identifying whether a child's allergy has likely resolved, informing the timing of oral food challenges or subsequent testing. Exciting recent studies are increasingly identifying early prognostic markers as well. Emerging food allergy therapies carry risks and costs. Identifying which egg-allergic patient has likely persistent allergy, and which patient with peanut allergy may experience natural resolution, is becoming an important goal to identify the best candidates for these therapies. Although more work needs to be done to identify reliable predictive markers and validate them, there is already much known about the natural course of food allergies that can be applied by the clinician to improve patient care.

Keywords: Egg; Food allergy; Milk; Natural history; Peanut; Soy; Tree nut; Wheat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Arachis / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Egg Proteins / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Milk Proteins / immunology
  • Population Groups
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Allergens
  • Egg Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E