Effect of sleep deprivation and exercise on reaction threshold in peanut-allergic adults: A randomised controlled study


Background: Peanut allergy causes severe and fatal reactions. Current food allergen labeling does not address these risks adequately against the burden of restricting food choice for allergic patients because of limited data on thresholds of reactivity and the influence of everyday factors.

Objective: We estimated peanut threshold doses for a United Kingdom population with peanut allergy and examined the effect of sleep deprivation and exercise.

Methods: In a crossover study, after blind challenge, participants with peanut allergy underwent 3 open peanut challenges in random order: with exercise after each dose, with sleep deprivation preceding challenge, and with no intervention. Primary outcome was the threshold dose triggering symptoms (in milligrams of protein). Primary analysis estimated the difference between the nonintervention challenge and each intervention in log threshold (as percentage change). Dose distributions were modeled, deriving eliciting doses in the population with peanut allergy.

Results: Baseline challenges were performed in 126 participants, 100 were randomized, and 81 (mean age, 25 years) completed at least 1 further challenge. The mean threshold was 214 mg (SD, 330 mg) for nonintervention challenges, and this was reduced by 45% (95% CI, 21% to 61%; P = .001) and 45% (95% CI, 22% to 62%; P = .001) for exercise and sleep deprivation, respectively. Mean estimated eliciting doses for 1% of the population were 1.5 mg (95% CI, 0.8-2.5 mg) during nonintervention challenge (n = 81), 0.5 mg (95% CI, 0.2-0.8 mg) after sleep, and 0.3 mg (95% CI, 0.1-0.6 mg) after exercise.

Conclusion: Exercise and sleep deprivation each significantly reduce the threshold of reactivity in patients with peanut allergy, putting them at greater risk of a reaction. Adjusting reference doses using these data will improve allergen risk management and labeling to optimize protection of consumers with peanut allergy.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01429896.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2019; 144(6):1584-1594.e2