Pardon my Andy Rooney moment, but why are food allergies so prevalent in the younger generations today?
Just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about food sensitivities, which a lot of people struggle with. I’m talking about full-blown allergies — the lethal kind. The kind that
I’m not that old… And I certainly don’t remember anyone in my classes, at any of the many schools I attended, having a serious and life-threatening food allergy.
Fast forward to today: Food allergy rates have noticeably skyrocketed in children. And not just in the U.S., either. This condition now impacts upwards of ten percent of the childhood populations in the UK and Australia, too.
So what’s going on here? Well, there’s no shortage of potential explanations.
But before I get into that, it’s helpful to understand what exactly happens to us during an allergic reaction…
Too many toxins, not enough germs
Simply put, an allergy occurs when your immune system attacks an otherwise harmless environmental substance. In the case of food allergies, symptoms range from redness, hives, and swelling, to vomiting and diarrhea — and most dangerously, trouble breathing and anaphylactic shock.
There are a handful of common culprits — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish. And the causes? Well, you can probably guess what my theory is.
Rampant GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, artificial ingredients, aggressive vaccination schedules… the list is endless in this increasingly toxic world. And it’s enough to send anyone’s immune system into a tailspin.
Consider the fact that allergies are more likely to occur in urban areas, as opposed to less sanitized rural environments. Which really isn’t that surprising when you think about it. Most of the food available is either processed with commercially grown ingredients, or conventionally (rather than organically) grown.
And rates are lower in developing countries, too. Migrants also face a higher risk of developing an allergy in their new homes.
Whatever the specific triggers, it seems fairly obvious that food allergies have roots in the environment — and that typical Western lifestyles are particularly problematic.
One theory is the “hygiene hypothesis” — suggesting that children’s immune systems just aren’t getting the priming that they require, due to an overly clean environment and less exposure to common infections.
Widespread vitamin D deficiency could also be to partly to blame — especially when you consider that rates have nearly doubled in the United States over the last decade alone. This certainly makes sense considering the mounds of research demonstrating vitamin D’s ability to reduce inflammation and regulate the immune system.
Avert disaster with early exposure
The latest pet theory is that preventing food allergies really boils down to targeted exposure to the allergens themselves. And surprise, surprise… we’ve been doing it all wrong.
Studies now suggest that exposing babies to problem foods like peanut butter and eggs the minute they’ve stopped breastfeeding could prevent allergies from forming. That’s because the gut is thought to be at a stage where it’s prepared to tolerate bacteria and other foreign substances.
But of course, most pediatricians advise doing the exact opposite. And it’s anybody’s guess as to how much damage this ill-advised recommendation has done.
Research out of King’s College London shows a five-fold increase in peanut allergies since 1995. But get this: It also shows that, when kids eat peanuts regularly from the year they’re born, incidence of peanut allergy at the age of five drops by 80 percent.
Meanwhile, Big Pharma is hard at work trying to find its own “cure.” According to one trial, nearly 70 percent of peanut-allergic patients who took a new immunotherapy drug were able to tolerate as many as two peanuts after a year of treatment.
For people with severe allergies, this could be lifesaving. But it’s hardly a solution to this growing epidemic. It is, however, an effective way to monetize it. And when big business has a monopoly on medicine, we all know which strategy wins the spotlight.
Thankfully, I’ve already written a book about this topic. It’s called The Allergy and Asthma Cure. Click here to find out how you can get your hands on a copy today.