June 19/Sydney/Indo-Asian News Service -- Parents need not worry about giving their children soymilk or soy-based formula. It is not likely to trigger peanut allergy, according to a new study.

"Our results show that their risk of becoming allergic to peanuts ... is a myth," said epidemiologist Jennifer Koplin of Murdoch Children's Research Institute, who led the research.

Peanut allergy is the source of the most common cause in children of the life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Previously, researchers suspected a link between the use of soy products and development of peanut allergy. The two legumes produce sets of similar proteins, said Koplin. It was thought this might cause a degree of cross-reaction in interactions with the immune system.

The new study, however, suggested that the association between soy consumption and peanut allergy is coincidental. It occurs because parents whose children are already at higher risk of peanut allergy -- due to a family or personal history of cow's milk allergy -- are more likely to give their children soy.

Koplin based her findings on data from the Melbourne Atopy Cohort Study that closely followed 620 children from the time of their birth until they were two years old.

These findings have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

From the June 23, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash