Saturday, February 16, 2008

Food Allergies On the Rise Worldwide

An allergic reaction in a young child is a terrifying thing to witness - well anyone's is really, because sometimes no one can determine what started the anaphylaxis. In the USA, the number one culprit is the well traveled peanut. For those with that specific allergy, just touching a peanut has severe implications. A famous case between two teens with one having had a breakfast featuring peanut butter on toast and the other an allergy, kissed each other. Anaphylatic shock was first diagnosed causing death - later proved to occur from an asthmatic reaction to cigarette smoke, not the peanut allergy. Foods served in school cafeterias and at snack times are under pressure from teachers and parents for more content scrutiny as allergic reactions all over the world are on the rise.

More states are moving toward standardized policies for dealing with anaphylaxis in schools, said Anne Munoz-Furlong, who runs the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

About 2.2 million school-age children in the U.S. have food allergies, she said.

About 400,000 of them are allergic to peanuts, she said.

Monica Hollenberg of Kennewick knows how dangerous that allergy can be.

Her son, Benjamin, 7, recently touched the crust of a peanut butter sandwich at school. He then touched his eye.

His eye turned red and became severely swollen, Hollenberg said.

Benjamin has a life-threatening peanut allergy and school officials didn't immediately recognize he was having a reaction, she said.

Peanuts are originally from Peru and other places in South America. Portuguese colonizers carried peanut seedlings to Africa and China from Brazil. Peanuts made their way back across the ocean to America from European traders, where it is now a cash crop in Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas for oils, peanut butter and other products. But peanuts are not alone in the food allergy rise. Milk based products are under pressure to look at labeling, especially for milk from cloned cows which the US FDA currently says is not necessary. Genetically modified (GM) seeds are not allowed in Europe, but they are prevalent in the US.

One issue is parents inserting their judgment for what constitutes an allergy versus a medical diagnosis. Australian dietitians note with some alarm the effects of not eating enough foods with the correct amount of minerals and vitamins due to self-serve diagnostics. Food Allergy Activists may rely too much on data that is compiled over a decade ago and needs scientific peer review to augment some popular beliefs because the data should also incorporate internationally known issues rather than an American bias as allergies are noted globally. Scientists note, no increase in the number of allergy sufferers, but a dramatic increase in the number of parents ascribing rashes, itching and behavioral issues to certain foods like milk, eggs or others. Researchers are actively seeking cures for those with milk allergies. One doctor sums it up best with:

A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics summed up the whole food allergy mess this way: "It is evident that inadequate study design and/or a paucity of data currently limit the ability to draw firm conclusions about certain aspects of [allergy] prevention through dietary interventions." Included in that report were questions about mothers avoiding allergic foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding, having kids avoid allergic foods until 2 to 3 years of age and - to my international parents' delight - when to let children start solid foods.

So what do I tell parents now? While I wait for better information, I'm hedging my bets and not saying anything new: Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months; moms, eat what you want; start solids with cereals between 4 to 6 months, and other solids at 6 months; it's best to avoid commonly allergic foods until age 1, and maybe a little longer if there's a strong family history of food allergies. But, if you have cultural traditions that favor introducing foods differently than that, go right ahead.

Nobody has any definitive answers, but there are a number of increasing dangerous issues around our food supply. Doctors plus scientists must take anxious parents complaints more seriously. Parents need to be patient in the quest for proven causes. Looking for a root cause of food allergies will take dedicated scientists looking at the effects of fish farms and the water supply, cloning on corporate farms and laboratory genetically modified food served over a period of time. Economics play a large part in which things get studied first or rise to the top of a national or global political agenda.

The title belies the seriousness of the subject, but many have added the Food Allergies for Dummies to their library of must reads on the topic. This book by Robert A. Wood, MD and contributor Joe Kraynak, is one of the most recently published works on the subjects of diagnosis and remedies in the past few months. For you, Temika - Luv Ya!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Theory: Vaccinations are the primary cause of food allergies. Infant formula, infant vitamins, and antibiotics that contain peanut products directly or indirectly may be secondary causes.

BACKGROUND: This study began as a "wild idea" that vaccinations or medicine could be causing peanut allergy. It soon turned into a horrible realization. A very small amount of food proteins from many sources are considered inert ingredients that fall under trade secret protection and are not on the vaccine inserts. Various studies have shown that injecting an animal with protein is one method of inducing an allergy. Every study done of food allergy that could be located does not disprove this theory. There was a study done on Indonesian and Thai children that has been frequently quoted as saying that there are no peanut allergies in Thailand or Singapore in spite of the high consumption of peanuts. Evidence was presented that Singapore has a major problem with peanut allergy. The study itself says that many children reacted to peanuts in a skin prick test and that it eliminated a number of children from the study. The "hygiene theory" was examined and found to have no merit. Evidence of a long list of food protein that can be used in vaccine production has been found in various patents on-line. The increased childhood vaccination schedule coincides with the increase in food allergies in industrialized nations. The lower incidence of food allergies in less industrialized nations also coincides with a lower vaccination rate. The lower incidence of food allergies in the Hispanic population of the United States also coincides with a lower vaccination rate. The evidence of food allergy in animals has only been found in vaccinated animals. Evidence of ingredients that can be one of the patented adjuvants with various food oils has been presented. Evidence that "pharmacy grade" peanut oil still contains peanut protein has been presented. Package inserts have been examined and found to have ingredients that do not disclose its actual composition. EVERY SINGLE FOOD ALLERGY THAT I HAVE FOUND, I HAVE ALSO FOUND THAT FOOD LISTED AS AN INGREDIENT IN A VACCINE OR MEDICAL PRODUCT.

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1. Vaccines are given to create an immune response from the body. It only makes sense that the body treats anything in the vaccine as an invader that needs to have an antibody created to combat it. That is why we give vaccines. But if the vaccine has a trace of food in it such as egg or peanut, it only makes sense that the vaccine can cause a food allergy.

2. Peanut oil is used in vaccines in adjuvants or as a vaccine carrier. The ingredients of adjuvants or vaccine carriers are not listed individually on the package insert. So the physician would have no way of knowing that there was peanut oil in the vaccine. The ingredients of adjuvants is considered a "trade secret" and has the protection of many governments not to be revealed.

3. Peanut allergy decreases in populations that have decreased percentage of vaccinated children. There are a number of studies that link vaccinations to allergies.

4. Peanut allergy is almost unknown in Israel. The population eats lots of peanuts. Israel produces sesame oil. Israel manufactures its own vaccines. Sesame is a major allergy there. Hypothesis: Sesame oil is used instead of peanut oil in the vaccines used in Israel.

5. Study that is frequently cited saying that Indonesia and Thailand people do not suffer from peanut allergies was erroneous. Many children in the study reacted to peanuts in the skin prick test. The study relied on parents of report food reactions. I found a Thai parent quoted on the Internet saying that her child had a peanut allergy. I also found a physician from Singapore stating that peanut allergy is a major problem there.

6. The “hygiene” theory points out that there is less food allergy in underdeveloped countries. They speculated that the people and environment is less clean so it is the early exposure to bacteria, etc. that protects against allergies. However, children as young as 8 months have been diagnosed with peanut allergy and it is only since 1990 that peanut allergies have become a huge problem. The populations in the underdeveloped countries are also not as compliant with childhood vaccinations which would account for less peanut allergy.

7. The United States and China are major producers of peanut oil and vaccinations. There are many patents for products used in vaccines that contain peanut oil.

8. The secondary causes of peanut allergy are due to young children having a “leaky gut”, immature digestive system. Introducing foods too soon can lead to allergies. Medicines given with traces of peanut protein could lead to an allergy. Also antibiotics kill off good bacteria as well as bad and can lead to an overgrowth of yeast which can cause food allergy type problems. I don’t know if any infant formula in the United States contains peanut oil. One website said it was more of a problem in Europe.

9. Our vaccinated animals are getting food allergies Dogs are allergic to peanuts. Searching the Internet - I found a wild elephant allergic to wheat; the elephant had been immunized. (Wheat germ oil is used as a carrier of vaccines. Wheat protein is used to manufacture vaccines/medicines.)

10. The statistics for allergies is appalling!! The allergy epidemic increased with every new mandate for more childhood immunizations.

11. How pure can we make peanut oil? I assume it is highly refined but it only would take a teeny weeny bit of peanut protein in a vaccine to create a problem. That is, of course, assuming that it is ONLY the peanut protein that causes the allergy. Using my “guessing” math, only 1 shot out of 1680 would need to be contaminated to create a peanut allergy in 1 in 70 people in Great Britain.

12. Vaccine adjuvants/ vaccine carriers contain many other oils/ingredients. These other ingredients could account for allergies to other foods. Fish oil is used. Shellfish can be mixed in with the fish by-products which are used to make fish oil. Wheat germ oil, corn oil, soy oil are used. Milk and eggs are also used in the production of vaccines. I expect that the oils are mixed in the vaccines so that you might get a vaccine with peanut oil and soy oil in it or any number of other oils.

I keep looking but so far, I have been unable to DISPROVE my theory. And perhaps that is because VACCINES ARE A MAJOR CAUSE OF FOOD ALLERGIES!!