07 March 2013

Y do X people have Food Allergies which =Z theory?

Over 220 million people worldwide have an actual diagnosed food allergy and 38% of the population reports to have one or more food intolerances. 

People with celiac are speaking more and more loudly about not just having a gluten intolerance but also having other food allergies/intolerances. 

We want to hear what your theory is!  Please share your thoughts and theories with us in comments.

There is NO CURE for food allergies or Celiac disease today, partially because we cannot determine the cause of them. The topics discussed in this page are strictly theories. 

1.   GMO and additives:  Before all my research began, I thought GMO or GE or GMF's were only in packaged foods. I was convinced that if I only ate "natural" food, I would be better off. I was SO WRONG!!!!!

GE stands for Genetically Engineered.  GMO is genetically modified organism.  I am beginning to realize this takes the lead. Unfortunately- it will be dis-proven if food allergies continue to rise in countries that have ban GMO's (UK and Japan). Lets go down the "rabbit hole"  for a second though to explore this theory: 

The Top 10 Food Allergens in U.S. are: 
1. Dairy
2. Tree Nuts
3. Peanuts
4. Fish
5. Shellfish
6. Soy
8. Eggs
9. Corn
10. Sesame 

Guess which crops contain GMO's or are GE? Dairy, Soy, Corn, Rice, Peanuts, Salmon (Fish), Eggs, Shellfish, Sesame, Tree Nuts (Walnuts), WHEAT is the only NON GMO crop of the top 10 food allergens in North America. Hmmmmmmmmm.... 

2. “Are we  too clean?” Have we over immunized? 

If we are exposed early in life to germs then we train our immune system to be stronger. By over cleaning we've caused our immune system to be weakened, therefore our body does not recognize foreign threats, such as certain foods. Hence, we've impaired our immune system and weakened it so it sees food and germs as threats or attacks on the body ??? Another part of this theory is that we have over immunized. Many parents these days are cutting down on the amount of shots their children are getting. This article has some interesting information supporting this: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/252841.php

3. It's genetic: If one person in the family has food allergies, it's likely someone else does. Many mysterious illnesses that a random person has carried for generations before or a random death could be linked to them having a food allergy that went without being diagnosed. Which leads me to the next theory. 

4. Major organ failure a link with undiagnosed food allergies/intolerances: I am super curious about this theory. We talk about "healthy" diet = healthy body. The top 10 major food allergens are all "healthy" foods. But what if our food is killing us. What if these strange illnesses with no logical explanations were related directly to the foods we consume and think are healthy for us? It's important to slow down and recognize 1. What food we put into our bodies. 2. How that food makes us feel. Let's say  one or all of these things happen to us when after we consume one or more foods:  break out with acne, joints are really sore,  are constantly tired and lethargic after eating, cough, sneeze or face burns- like you've eaten something very sour. It could be what we are eating. 

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  1. I don't think there is one "cause"...just like cancer and other diseases, there are many, many contributing factors. Scientists will never be able to track down all of the different factors and say "THIS" is what causes food allergies. Genetics is definitely one of them. In my son's case, I think antibiotic use was also an issue. He had some health issues when he was born, and was running a fever. They had to give him antibiotics. I exclusively breastfed him. His allergy list is what I ate the most the first week of his life. Not many kids are allergic to oats, but I ate oatmeal at least twice a day .

    I often wonder if the rise in food allergies is a downside to breastfeeding. In the 60's and 70's, formula was very popular, and not many babies were breastfed past a few months of age. i still believe breastfeeding is better for babies, and I nursed all 3 of mine until they were 2, but I still wonder if there isn't a link.

  2. I wonder about GMOs. I wonder about the increased number of vaccines children have compared to the past. I wonder about pollution and chemicals in food and the air and cleaning products. I think that how foods are processed seems to have an effect as well as how often a food is eaten in a given country. China and Japan may have peanut allergy but they are much less common than here. Ditto Spain--peanut allergy is not very common there. But food allergies are common in all three places--just the top allergens differ. I think the hygiene hypothesis is now not in favor among researchers. Your individual experience means very little regarding the cause for the recent increase, though. There will almost always be cases of individuals who don't fit whatever cause but that doesn't mean it isn't behind the overall trend. I think we still just don't know enough to know the cause.

  3. I believe it is genetics. Most people will say that NO one in their family has food allergies. Then at some point it comes out that Grandpa couldn't have cow's milk. My kids got diagnosed with food allergies, then my Mom did, then some cousins, etc.

  4. I am with Sarah's mom. I have some allergies that could be GE while others are not. I do believe genetics play a large role. Even though my parents don't have FAs, my dad has EAs/SAs, and more. I really couldn't win.

  5. Wheat is not? When the crops that are GMO pollenate via wind, bees ect. The crops become contaminated with GMO & ect. Bee hives are collapsing why? GMO in the pollen cell phones? I think it's everything GMO, vaccines, water(medicine residue in our drinking water), the air is polluted . Don't buy into the too clean idea. JMO

  6. Just a thought, but it may not be that FA's were uncommon in past years/centuries, just that the babies with them often didn't survive. When one reads classic literature, certain themes take on a new resonance to a FA reader-a mother's 'sour' milk blamed for her baby's death, the extremely high infant mortality rate and the number of kids who would go to bed sick and not wake up (not just FA's I know, but still), numbers of 'sickly' kids who would subsist on limited diets, etc. When a certain obnoxious relation kept giving someone I know grief about there not being allergies 'In his day' she retorted that "That's because they all died! At least we know how to keep them alive".

    Another thought re: formula in the 70's-tons of kids had seasonal allergies/asthma/inhalers/gym exemptions in the 70's and 80's. Ask a teacher who was teaching then. That was eye-opening for me re allergies when I spoke with a local principal about the issue. Her perspective wasn't that allergies were increasing in her kids, just the severity. It had gone from inhalers to epi pens in the nurse's office for her.

    Allergic to: Corn (and all the derivatives), dairy, egg, peanut, soy, strawberry, tomato.

  7. I do genealogy and family research. Babies used to died young because of disease and poor sanitation. Those who had allergies could vary well have died from malnutrition or anaphatic shock. Adults like me who first show symptons as adults might not have lived long enough to show those symptoms. I do believe that immunity and exposure to lots of stuff may help build the immune system. However how does one build immunity to things they normally are not exposed to like kiwi fruit, elk, milk, or paprika? My body should be immune to wheat, soy, chickens and their eggs, peanuts, and other stuff but they are not. Yet I can eat foods I never been around like collard greens, pomellos, and sushi. Well, then maybe it is two or more things like exposure builds immunity while heredity or damaged genes make one prone to certain allergies.

    My mother was sensitive to ephedra and penecillin like me but I was a little bit worse. She could not have MSG. My father was healthy except mild asthma. I honestly cannot find anything to indicate celiac in my family. I cannot find allergies or sensitivities in my family and I am the oddball. I do find that the wheat apparently damages the stomach so that when I am clean for weeks I can better tolerate cow dairy and eggs.

    Allergic/ intolerant to: Celiac/gluten free, soy lecithin is ok otherwise absolutely no soy (intolerance), chicken egg intolerance (varies), mild dairy intolerance, hit and miss on aerosols/scents/perfumes, no lysol sprays, dust causes congestion/respritory problems, penecillin. Was caregiver of MSG sensitive diabetic mother. My main interest in Disney World is special diets.

  8. I wish I could find a link or something to the article I read years ago about the history of peanut allergy. It talked about the very first case found in America around 1900 and then by about 1920 they had maybe 12 cases and it had number of cases each decade or two listed. It was a very interesting read. I don't think people were eating peanuts historically--I can't remember the details about George Washington Carver but I know he found many uses for peanuts. I also think it is possible that people had food allergies always throughout history but I think that we would hear more about it if it was as prevalent historically as it is today. I can see some reactions and fatalities passed off as other things but if a child has milk and swells each time and starts having trouble breathing each time I think a lot of historical parents would have put two and two together just as we do today. For sure the rates of food allergies are increasing now and have apparently tripped in the last 10 years.

    Lisa - environmental allergies and asthma, allergic to aspirin, reflux.
    DS - 10 allergic to dairy (eating baked), egg (eating tiny amounts of baked), peanuts, treenuts, sesame, hemp, amaranth, and honey, asthma and EAs.
    DH - asthma, EAs, ana to penicillin.

  9. Laurie,

    I have read and heard from others who have Celiac that once they are strictly gluten free they are often able to tolerate other foods that formerly bothered them. That would NOT include IgE allergens, of course. YMMV with that. It makes sense since eating wheat damages people with Celiac internally.

    As for IgE allergies, it isn't a weak immune system but an overactive one that is reacting to things it should not that is the trouble.

  10. I agree with a combination of things like genetics, gmo's, pollution, chemicals, and so on. I believe low vitamin D in pregnant women play a role as well.

  11. I personally believe this phenomenon of increased food allergy, celiac disease, and food intolerance has numerous factors. The increase does align itself with the beginning of processed foods, lack of helminthes in our daily life, the need to be super clean, and increased pollution/environmental factors. We also have limited our diets to processed food, less variety, fewer fresh and whole foods, and more sugar/fat/salt/grain...less fresh water. This also means our bodies are out of whack. It is quite a web and those of us who experience food related disease...well, it may not be reversible just controllable (but I am not a physician or scientist so it is only my opinion).

  12. I am sorry about your mother. Such a young age...my dad died from colon cancer when he was 62 after suffering through treatments and surgeries for 7 years...never ONCE did anyone mention diet to him, not even in terms of eating less fat, more broccoli, etc. It bothered me then but not nearly as much as it bothers me now knowing what I know about food. Just in looking through his family, I see obvious signs of gluten issues and I will always wonder if he had undiagnosed Celiac or some other intolerance. I definitely get where you are coming from.

    You may check out dogtorj.com and his theories on origin of disease in general (across species which makes it even more interesting). His explains how viruses, GMOs, and the lectins in four major food culprits opens the door for leaky gut and various other ailments. I found it to be very thought provoking.

    With respect to wheat, check out Wheat Belly. True, wheat hasn't been GM'd by today's standards or terminology but it has been cross bred so many times over the years, the resulting grain looks nothing like the orginal. Far, far, far from it.

    My thoughts on FAs have always been that it isn't just one thing, but a combination of things, including genetic predisposition. I believe we are alterning our genes w/ GMOs and other factors. I believe that even with genetic predisposition that a lot of other things have to fall into place for FA to occur. And I think a lot of it starts in or centers on gut health. Gut health is being knocked off course by many things - antibiotics, c-section, GMOs, other meds, viruses, etc. These all change the balance of good v. bad gut flora, and w/ GMOs in particular are even intro'ing new strains of bacteria that our guts don't recognize. There was a study, in Japan I think, that studied early intervention w/ probiotics in infants which had promising results as far as decreasing or eliminating FA development.

    I really think it is a combo of things, inlcuding as others have mentioned, that we are able to treat and live w/ FAs these days and pass along the genetic propensity. I think what we put in and on our bodies is a factor. I think very telling is the fact that a certain sub-group of foods are the most common culprits and that they are the most common FAs in not just human but other species also points to there being something about the foods themselves, rather than just our genes that make them a problem. Maybe it is related to the sheer volume of these top foods that we take into our systems, the ways we have grown or processed them, etc. I think maybe different folks develop different ailments because of the same triggers, just based upon their individual set of circumstances. In other words, GMOs or other "triggers" may be bad for us all...we all just happen to be affected by FAs, and many times other disorders. Depending on where they fall into our own individual experience, our result may be FAs, IBS, arthritis, kidney abnormalities (DS has unilateral hydronephrosis), birth defects, skin rash, blindness, cancer, etc.

    I have a curious mind also and a need to connect the dots...this one is a pretty complex puzzle.

  13. There is a difference between a food allergy and an intolerance. There has been an increase in both as well as an increase in awareness of food intolerance. As we know longer eat seasonally, we can eat strawberries at Christmas and brussels sprouts in the summer, we don't allow our bodies to have a natural break from foods. It is the repetition of the same foods or ingredients that contributes to the intolerance/allergies. Take a look at the ingredients of a normal shopping trolley to see how many food items contain grains, dairies, soya, yeast for instance. More variety and the more unusual the foods the better the chances for not suffering the effects of intolerances.

  14. One must look at at least three major factors when considering why celiac disease and others are on the rise:
    1. external
    2. internal
    3. environmental

    We can control the internal with a disciplined, therapeutic diet so as to minimize the other two factors. Of course, there are no guarantees of prognosis of a 100 per cent eradication of the problem. Emotions are also a factor as to why we eat, exercise, rest, and think thoughts of love or hate. These things are not easily measurable, if at all.
    Just FYI...saw the post and gave my two cents worth. Hope it helps someone.

  15. I think it has to do with vaccines.

  16. I believe stress levels + GMO foods + antibiotics + genetics has added to my list food allergies: gluten, food intolerances: soy, corn, peanuts & lactose. Had lactose intolerance as a child but no one knew it. As an adult who has eaten and lived a healthy lifestyle for the last 30+ years I don't believe it is a coincidence that I contracted my wheat allergy in the last 9 years and soy and corn in the last 3 years of my life due to GMO foods and using antibiotics for flus and strep throat. I left the corporate life to pursue my purpose (educate people on allergens and toxins in our foods, home and personal care products) and my passion (to inspire people to shop, cook & eat healthy) so they can live their best life.It's so important that we keep "connecting the dots" to figure out this dilemna since it is definitely on the rise and not "going away".

    That is the answer now that I have been stuck in bed for two days, going in and out of fitful deep sleep. Let me remind you all of what I have heard and seen.

    Cerritos, CA was known as Dairy Valley. A while back trenches of animal bones were found in the yards of nice homes. In the 1920's the Dutch dairymen buried cows that were killed because of hoof and mouth disease. The Azorean/Portuguese dairymen called trucks to come and properly dispose of the animals.

    I grew up in what eventually had 4 freeways. I grew up with smog alerts. There was the chemical business that sometimes left off a smell. The jet fuel tanks have leaked under homes. There are toxic areas in my community from leakage that has spread under homes. I get an ache in my heart at the smell of beer because I grew up inhaling the smell from the granary. Could living downwind from a granary have affected me with celiac?

    Fiberglass was used in curtains and home insulation. Homes were painted with leaded paint. Workers did not wear masks. Mercury, chemicals, paint, and other toxins were dumped in the trash can or toilet. Anyone wanting to dump some medical or toxic waste they just drove out to the desert or forest or paid a person with land. Look at all the cancer clusters. Rivers still are dumping grounds for chemicals. Do you remember methiolate? Mad Hatter comes from the effects on hat makers due to chemicals.

    I sit here not knowing how I poisoned myself this time. My mind wanders back to the days of old when we did not think about what we ate, inhaled or drank. I remember my father leaving steel chips around the house and the stories about my uncle who would come home with holes in his jeans from acid exposure. Another uncle and his male relatives worked at Baker and died of cancer. In 1922 my grandmother was in New Mexico in the coal mining area. Her snots were black from coal dust. How many men brought home toxins in their hair, shoes, and clothes, I wonder. Time to wrap this up, know that this is not just this century as hatters been mad for centuries.

    Celiac/gluten free, soy lecithin is ok otherwise absolutely no soy (intolerance), chicken egg intolerance (varies), mild dairy intolerance, hit and miss on aerosols/scents/perfumes, no lysol sprays, dust causes congestion/respiratory problems, penicillin. Was caregiver of MSG sensitive diabetic mother. My main interest in Disney World is special diets.

  18. My husband had severe asthma as a child and is very candid about the fact that had he been born ten years earlier he may not have made it, but asthma treatments jumped ahead light years in the 1970s and I believe allbuterol and some other meds began to be used more widely. I read some statistic that asthma increased something like 400% due to pollution and we all know that asthma and allergies are connected...and I thought it was interesting in the NY Times article last week where they are beginning to suspect that the genes' propensity for these allergies can be turned on and off by the environment. I blame the rise in asthma, possibly due to pollution, and then the survival of asthma patients due to improved meds and then lo and behold the next generation sees a spike in FA.

  19. I also think it's a combo of factors.

    But, anecdotally, my FAK was breastfed exclusively her first few months of life. She was miserably sick, covered head to toe in eczema, and couldn't sleep. I cut everything out of my diet, and while it improved, it never got totally better, in part because I replaced wheat with oats, which I didn't realize that she was also allergic to (hives/IgE reaction). When I couldn't take the lack of sleep and inability to make her feel better anymore, I decided to wean and try formula. Her first taste of formula caused a full blown ana reaction where she was gasping for breath and needed a ride to the hospital in an ambulance.

    I blamed myself for causing her allergies via breastfeeding. When we had the twins, I went straight to formula. Neither one has any allergies at all.

    Go figure.

    It probably has nothing to do with it at all, but I guess I just figure based on my own experience that it has something to do with breastfeeding.

    I know that most infants thrive on mama milk, but not mine.

    I have a feeling that it's a combo of causes related to vaccines, GMOs, antibiotics, genetics, etc.

    And, I am not sure we'll ever know the cause. I just hope for a treatment.

  20. Laurie, I do genealogy too, and I have several obits from ancestors in the 1800's who "died after a mysterious illness overtook them within 30 minutes"....I suspect it happened after eating.

    I, myself should have died 3 times as a child--but my diligent mother saved me. I think the fact that medicine has progressed to the point of allowing us to survive and pass on allergic genetics to a new generation is a big factor.

    I believe that these and many other factors play a role:

    GMO's -- some of us are eating food proteins we are allergic to without realizing it because they are hidden in other 'safe' foods. Did you know your Genetically Modified cornflakes contain the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria that kills insects by paralyzing the digestive system? It apparently doesn't cause harm to humans, but what about a build-up in the system? We all know that some of our allergic reactions don't show themselves until we've reached a saturation point. I'm not saying Bt is bad---but I am saying that it should have been studied longer before being put into our food system without our knowledge. I don't like being experimented on.

    Environment (air quality, chemical exposure, pollen exposure)

    Hygiene Theory (but Not the way most describe.) I believe that before refrigeration came about, the human gut was able to handle more bacteria than they are today and this 'cleaning' of our food of these bacteria has weakened our immune systems)...how many of you grew up eating chili that sat out on the stove all night, or ate nightly from a pot of potato soup, kept warm on the wood stove all day?? I did. I used to eat it all. I cannot now, because I stopped and lost the ability to do so. I used to drink raw milk straight from the bulk tank in the barn. When we had to switch to 'store-bought', I became lactose intollerant. Do you recall a time in history when meat was hung in the smoke house and the mold was carved off the Easter ham before serving it?

    Vaccines--based on the strength of the immune system.

    Antibiotics--over use, and based on the individual strength of the immune system.

    Artifical Food preservatives and chemicals....we are exposed to a lot more now than 40 years ago...even 20 years ago. We are asking too much of our stressed immune systems.

    I'd like to know WHY--my children didn't develop food allergies until they went to school? They grew up eating natural foods grown in the garden, sure, an occasional Happy Meal, but for the most part, they weren't exposed to food chemicals until they started eating school lunches. I have to think there is a connection.

    Why are some people prone to develop allergies to foods they eat continually, day-after-day, while another person can thrive on this way of eating? I've seen both of these in my family.

    Bent your ears long enough....it's a BIG topic, and one that I wish could be solved.

    Karen in Ohio

  21. In the U.S., genetic modification has expanded into almost every area of food production of gmo food list. Scientists can introduce some sort of modification gmo food list into the genes of crops, dairy products and animals.From gmo food list for example, ranchers and dairy farmers normally feed cattle a GM diet, which is in turn passed on to you when you drink milk or eat beef. Do you need to worry about what's on your family's dinner table? And are there some surprising benefits to GM foods of gmo food list? As you'll see, this subject is one hot potato.


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