How common are allergies?
Allergies are estimated to affect 8% of children and 5% of adults (because some kids outgrow their allergies) (1).
What are some potential risk factors for developing allergies?
- Sex (male children at 5x greater risk than females, but this risk disappears in adulthood) (2)
- Genetics (7x greater risk of peanut allergy if parent or sibling has it) (3)
- Atopy (also having atopic dermatitis) (4)
- Vitamin D deficiency (5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- Cesarean section birth (10)
- Inflammation (11)
- Low omega-3 consumption during pregnancy (12, 13)
- Low stomach acid / frequent antacid use (affects digestion of antigens) (14)
- Timing and method of exposure to allergenic foods (if the child has already been sensitized to an antigen in their environment and the introduction of the food is delayed, it may increase allergy risk) (15)
What are the top 8 food allergens?
- Tree Nuts
- Cow’s Milk
These 8 foods account for 90% of all food allergies (16). Other foods that are slightly less common include kiwi, lentil, and sesame (17).
What are some examples of very random allergies?
It’s pretty much possible to be allergic to anything. Allergies have been reported in the literature to:
- Aluminum (20)
- Artichokes (21)
- Buckwheat (22)
- Cabbage (23)
- Chamomile-scented toilet paper (24)
- Chrysanthemum (25)
- Dental impression materials (26)
- Fig (27)
- Goat’s milk (28)
- Gold dental work (29)
- Grapes (21)
- Henna (22)
- Honey (possibly due to pollen & bee parts found within) (23, 24)
- Hyaluronidase (25)
- Iodide (26)
- Lupine seeds (21)
- Lychee (possibly a cross-reactivity with latex) (27)
- Meat (28)
- Mulberries (21)
- Mushrooms (29)
- Olive oil (30)
- Palladium used in dental material (31)
- Peaches (32)
- Poppy seeds (33)
- Pumpkin seeds (34)
- Recombinant human insulin (35)
- Semen (36)
- Sheep’s milk (28)
- Silicone (37)
- Silk stitches (38)
- Stainless steel / manganese (39)
- Toothpaste flavorings (40)
Does cooking food change its allergenicity?
It can! Some people with food allergies (especially oral allergy syndrome), can better tolerate cooked foods over the raw forms (41, 42, 43).
But this is not the case universally. Some people may react worse to cooked allergens, or react equally to both cooked and raw forms (44).
Whether or not someone tolerates raw vs cooked forms of the food does not always correlate with the size of the wheals on a skin prick test. The only way to know for sure is through an oral challenge.
It is advised not to test the cooked forms until the person is stable and to only do so under the presence of a physician if there is any risk of anaphylaxis.
Can supplements help with environmental allergies?
Natural D-Hist by Orthomolecular Products is a popular supplement for allergies.
It contains vitamin C (antioxidant), quercetin (mast cell stabilizer), stinging nettle (natural antihistamine), bromelain (reduces edema and inflammation), and N-acetyl-cysteine (antioxidant and mucus thinner) (45)
The recommended dosage, according to the manufacturer, is two capsules, 3x per day for 1 week, then a maintenance dose of 2 capsules per day.
Erica is a registered dietitian nutritionist and lover of science and learning. She has a never-ending passion for education, and gladly spends her time writing & growing this blog! When she’s not at the computer, she can be found in the kitchen with her family, rocking out to good music and cooking up a storm.