Food Allergy Experience

Food Allergies Then and Now

The Truth About Food Allergies- Article Review

Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve been confronted by those who have staked claim that the introduction of food is the cause of food allergies. I’ve been told, in one case by the same person, the little guy’s food allergies were a result from introducing foods too early and too late. Not sure how I could’ve done both, but that was this person’s claim. Later, I ran across advice given to a first time mom to hold off on specific foods to prevent food allergies.

My understanding of food allergies from both my education and from my son’s allergist is its an immature immune system which over reacts to food. The immune system is too good. The allergy can be genetic in which case your genetics tell the body to over react. In the latter, there would be no way the introduction of food could cause the allergy. There could be an argument to the immature immune system assuming the immune system matures prior to the introduction of the food.

In the case of my son, he developed symptoms of food allergy prior to introduction of anything beyond breastmilk. Therefor, the introduction of food seems a mute point. And in regards to my over all thoughts on food allergies, I do not believe late or early introductions make a difference in the development of food allergies as it does not explain the increased incidence in food allergies. I do, however, feel compelled to investigate this theory. I searched for articles that were peer reviewed and will be posting this information here on my blog over the next week or so.

Article Reviewed: The Truth About Food Allergies by: Laura Beil

This article examines 4 “Then” and “Now”‘s of food allergies. The first “then” and “now” examines the cultural awareness to food allergies.  The article talks about the increase of awareness and attitude toward food allergies. It states that 2001 over 40 states have passed laws requiring EMTs to always carry epinephrine. That’s great news! The “then” stated that it was a possibility to call 911 and the ambulance would either not have epinephrine or not be able to use it.

The second “then” and “now” addresses the introduction of food which was the main reason for pulling the article. Before families with history of allergies were told to hold off on eggs until 2 and peanuts/nuts until 3 believe the immature immune system would create an allergy. In 2008, the American Pediatric Association withdrew this recommendation because there was no real evidence that supported holding off. The article also stated there was some evidence to suggest that early introduction may be key. It referred to a study comparing the Jewish population and the Israeli population. There was smaller percentage of food allergic kids in the Israeli population which introduces peanuts at a very young age.

The third “then” and “Now” is there is no known cause to food allergies. This was a believe of the past. Researchers are evaluating theories. This article mentioned one theory (which I believe has strong evidence) is the hygiene hypothesis. Due to society desire to be clean and to keep germs away, we have actually given our immune systems very little to fight off. The second theory is the amount of process foods consumed decreases real foods eaten.

The final “then” and “now” addresses a cure. (I personally don’t like the word cure because the allergy often times remain just under “control” but remains an allergy). It was believed the only way to manage food allergies is through avoidance. Research today is evaluating desentization therapy and use of a Chinase herb. This article suggests that the first generation treatment will be out in a few years.

Overall, this article was quite interesting. It was a quick read and very good way to start this process. However, it was not in depth and was a quick overview of information.

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