Tuesday, May 29, 2012
A study published in Pediatrics, 2011 suggests that food
allergies affect a significant number of children in the US. This study,
the largest of its kind, surveyed nearly 40,000 US households with one
or more children less than 18 years of age. Based on the data
collected, the researchers found that food allergies affect 8.0% of US
children or about 6 million. Of those children, 30.4% had multiple food
allergies and 38.7% had a history of severe reactions. The most common
allergies reported in the survey were peanut (25.2%), milk (21.1%) and
A well-known hallmark of food allergy is the production of IgE or IgG
antibodies to a protein of the problem food. An allergy of
this type develops when food-specific antibodies, bound to
mast cells and basophils, present in the skin, gut and respiratory
tract, come into contact with, and bind the circulating allergen. This
binding activates these cells to release inflammatory mediators. This results in discomfort associated with allergy including
stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, itching and swelling.
The prevalence of food allergies has shown a remarkable upswing over the
past 10 to 20 years across all ages. There can be a genetic influence to developing
allergies. Allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children.
But certainly this cannot account wholly for the epidemic rise that we
have seen over the decades. The manifestations of allergy are the result
of the complex interaction between genetics, nutrition, immunity and
environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke and pollutants that can
increase the antigenic response.
testing remains an essential clinical tool to identify food
sensitivities, which may be the underlying causes of many conditions.
For more information on food allergy testing, please contact Dr. Lee at
206-319-5322 or visit www.seattlenaturopathiccenter.com
Gupta, R. S., Springston, E. E., Warrier, M. R., et al. (2011). The
prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the
United States. Pediatrics. DOI: