Recently, information on food allergies has spread across news outlets almost as quickly as their prevalence among Americans’ list of health problems. A Google.com search produces about 13,400,000 options for “Food Allergies” and every major newspaper seems to have a handful of articles discussing the condition.
Studies from federal and private groups confirm this rise among Americans, and in same cases, other countries. “From 1997 to 2007 the prevalence of reported food allergies increased 18% among children under the age of 18,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.
Food allergies do not stem from certain practices among pregnant women or the frequency of breastfeeding infants. Nor are food allergies comparable to lactose intolerance or hay fever.
Food allergies solely originate through genetics, the International Food Information Council Foundation writes. Therefore, the increase in reported cases of food allergies is leading scientists to increase their study of antibodies that inhibit acceptance of certain foods.
A study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease focuses on observations that reveal “biological markers and immunologic changes associated with the development of food allergies.” The results of this 5-year process could result in treatment that will lessen severity and the likelihood of reactions.
By definition, a food allergy sufferer’s DNA codes the creation of a “food specific antibody”. The antibody assists in immunity and therefore, identifies and attacks anything associated with that specific food as harmful. The attack felt by the sufferer, (hives, nausea and even anaphylactic shock) is the body’s response to a food that was identified in the person’s genes as harmful. In order to combat a reaction to a certain food, scientists need to define a method of inhibiting the release of that specific antibody.