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Why do we get food allergies?

Posted 302 Days Ago in: Genetics, Nutrition


Making up 90% of all food allergies are these foods: eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy, according to ACAAI. In most cases, an allergic reaction to one type of food may mean that a person is also sensitive to another similar type of food as allergies and the properties in the food causing an allergy are linked. The reasons behind food allergies are widely diverse and due to this are unclear, and currently there exists a situation where the only available prevention for food allergies is to avoid the foods that you are allergic to altogether.

Genetics and Food Allergy:


It has been found that a person’s genetics could play a key role in understanding why they have certain food allergies, as these allergies could be hereditary. The human genome contains a vast amount of information and data to do with everything about a person, the key lies in adequate research being done so genes can be understood in more detail.


In their study, Wang and her colleagues analysed DNA samples from 2,759 participants (1,315 children and 1,444 of their biological parents) enrolled in the Chicago Food Allergy Study. Most of the children had some kind of food allergy. They scanned approximately 1 million genetic markers across the human genome, searching for clues to which genes might contribute to increased risk of developing food allergies, including peanut.


They found that a genomic region harbouring genes such as HLA-DQ and HLA-DR and located on chromosome six is linked to peanut allergy.  This study suggests that the HLA-DR and -DQ gene region probably poses significant genetic risk for peanut allergy as it accounted for about 20 percent of peanut allergy in the study population. 


Studies such as this reveal the value in continuing research in the field of genetics for the benefit of society as a whole. Insight into genetics and the reasons behind why all people are unique and different from each other can offer key ways to understanding food allergies better.


But it isn’t only down to genetics, as we already know that the environment plays a role as well in everything about our daily lives. A study discovered that the role of gene-environment interaction, gene-gene interaction, and epigenetics in food allergies remains largely unexplored. Given the complex nature of food allergies, future studies need to integrate environment, genomics and epigenomics in order to better understand the multi-facet etiology and biological mechanisms of food allergies. As this field of science grows, being relatively new in terms of the greater scheme of things, the understanding of the relationship between the environment and genetics and what it means to the people it impacts will assist us in furthering our knowledge of how to prevent, treat, and possibly one day cure food allergies that have a debilitating effect on the lives of the people who have them.



Nutrition Food allergies Diet


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