Researcher Dr Billy Tao of Flinders Medical Centre says doctors had long assumed people with nut allergies should not consume any nuts.
He says the research was set up to check validity of the theory.
“Practically all kids with a known nut allergic history will be told by their doctors to avoid all nuts, but this type of approach does not really have any evidence,” he said.
Under close medical supervision, nearly 50 patients were put through months of testing.
Dr Tao says it was surprising to find that regular consumption of other nuts could lower the reaction among patients to nuts they were allergic to.
He said 25 per cent of those involved showed improvements and a wider study was now needed.
“It shows that it is actually quite safe to eat the non-allergic nuts if you are allergic to some … nuts,” he said, but Dr Tao stressed that medical advice was essential and people should not attempt anything at home to desensitise those with nut allergies.
Are nut allergies real? Are the people who get sick really just reacting to some pesticides sprayed on the nuts or something? I don’t understand why nut allergies would have evolved.