Actions we can take day-to-day to combat food allergies by reducing our exposure to unnatural substances and chemicals.
As reported by FARE – “Each year in the U.S., 200,000 people require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food. 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom, has a food allergy and caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families nearly $25 billion annually.” This leads to a question on what is it that causes this outbreak?
A paper published on Jan. 14 in the Journal Cell, four Yale immunobiologists suggests that an exaggerated activation of our food quality control system is to be attributed for the increased occurrence of food allergies.
Previously a theory suggested an absence of natural pathogens such as parasites in the modern environment, may be causing our bodies to become hypersensitive to certain foods. Nevertheless, our immune system is meant to and has evolved over time to tackle with such natural threats. Since we do not encounter at all or that frequent, it reacts to things we stumble upon in our everyday food.
As per the Yale scientists, the current food quality control system, a complex and highly evolved program designed to protect us against consuming harmful foods, could be the reason why so many Americans are becoming sensitive to common foods. They also claim, the presence of unnatural substances, including processed food, or environmental chemicals, such as dishwashing detergent, in the modern environment, in addition to the absence of natural microbial exposure, be a factor in disrupting this food quality control program.
“We can’t devise ways to prevent or treat food allergies until we fully understand underlying biology,” said co-author Ruslan Medzhitov, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology and investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “You can’t be a good car mechanic if you don’t know how a normal car works.”
There’s an immune system equipped with sensory guardians, present in the biology of all animals which helps us determine not to eat something if something smells or tastes bad. Similarly, the immune system responds to neutralize the threat when we ingest toxins – which also triggers allergies – both environmental and food.
The absence of natural threats such as parasites made this part of immune system hypersensitive and more likely to respond to generally harmless proteins found in certain food groups (such as, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy), the theory suggests.
“One factor is increased use of hygiene products and overuse of antibiotics and, secondly, a change in diet and the increased consumption of processed food with reduced exposure to naturally grown food and changed composition of the gut microbiome,” Medzhitov said. “Finally, the introduction of food preservatives and environmental chemicals such as dishwashing detergents introduced novel elements for immune system to monitor.” Collectively, these changes in the environment effectively trigger food quality control responses making the immune system react to food proteins the way it would react to toxic substances, the team argues.
With what has been revealed, through this research, until now could be a good head start to help researchers towards identifying potential causes and ways to combat the food allergies.
We believe there’s further research to be conducted to have more clarity around this topic. If you are from Austin, Round Rock, Buda, Kyle, Bastrop, Cedar Park, and other nearby areas, suffering from food allergies, Dr. Gaglani at Allergies and Asthma can help you diagnosing and treating your food allergies. There are several testing methods such as skin testing, blood testing, oral food challenge to diagnose and start the food allergy treatment.
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