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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:05 AM

So, why the rise in peanut allergies anyway?


As an offshoot of the popular "peanut allergy" thread, I thought it might be worthwhile to discuss the different theories out there as to why this is happening. As other (I assume older) posters have commented, the rise of peanut allergies strikes them as bizarre, since most of us have no recollection of anyone suffering from this condition when we were younger. That's not to say we're denying its existence, just that we do notice there's been a change somewhere along the way in its frequency, and we'd like to understand why.

The following quote from a DiscoveryHealth webpage seems like a good place to start the discussion:

"The prevalence of peanut allergies is disputed: Some studies say the rate of peanut allergies in children is one or two for every 100. A more recent study by Dr. Aziz Sheikh of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland puts the number lower: at one or two children with peanut allergies out of every 1,000. No matter what the actual rate is, all of the studies point to the same trend: Peanut allergies are on the rise. According to the results of a study led by Dr. Scott H. Sicherer of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the number of cases of peanut allergies tripled between 1997 and 2008. Other statistics put the jump at 17 percent. Still, either number points to a rise.

The reason for the increase in people allergic to peanuts is even less clear than the statistics that point to it; however, there are a few theories. The most popular theory is called the "hygiene hypothesis," which says that people are just too clean these days. The result of the super-germ-free lives we lead and our readiness to treat infection with antibiotics is that our bodies don't know how to handle certain innocent proteins. The other take on the hygiene hypothesis is that our bodies are bored with no germs to combat, so they attack peanuts. Additional theories point to the way that foods are processed, while some say it might be an issue of too little exposure at a young age. A number of people say the rise in statistics is just due to more diagnoses than in the past."

http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/allergies/food-allergy/peanut/peanut-allergies-increasing.htm

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Reply So, why the rise in peanut allergies anyway? (Original post)
reformist2 Apr 2013 OP
Pab Sungenis Apr 2013 #1
on point Apr 2013 #4
womanofthehills Apr 2013 #13
hedgehog Apr 2013 #26
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #29
grasswire Apr 2013 #39
Tree-Hugger Apr 2013 #43
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #46
Squinch Apr 2013 #2
Silent3 Apr 2013 #16
Squinch Apr 2013 #64
Chan790 Apr 2013 #55
Squinch Apr 2013 #63
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2013 #73
reformist2 Apr 2013 #3
marybourg Apr 2013 #31
byeya Apr 2013 #5
MindPilot Apr 2013 #15
byeya Apr 2013 #25
hedgehog Apr 2013 #27
tabbycat31 Apr 2013 #30
marybourg Apr 2013 #35
jeff47 Apr 2013 #44
justiceischeap Apr 2013 #67
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2013 #75
Brickbat Apr 2013 #6
byeya Apr 2013 #7
Aristus Apr 2013 #37
LeftishBrit Apr 2013 #48
Marr Apr 2013 #19
zentrum Apr 2013 #8
Lex Apr 2013 #10
Mariana Apr 2013 #86
Silent3 Apr 2013 #17
reformist2 Apr 2013 #18
NickB79 Apr 2013 #82
Quantess Apr 2013 #9
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #32
bettyellen Apr 2013 #40
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #47
Blue_In_AK Apr 2013 #68
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #72
Bohunk68 Apr 2013 #74
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2013 #76
Baitball Blogger Apr 2013 #11
FarCenter Apr 2013 #12
winter is coming Apr 2013 #20
FarCenter Apr 2013 #21
Brickbat Apr 2013 #14
womanofthehills Apr 2013 #24
marybourg Apr 2013 #38
Tree-Hugger Apr 2013 #45
alittlelark Apr 2013 #22
womanofthehills Apr 2013 #23
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #34
geckosfeet Apr 2013 #28
thucythucy Apr 2013 #59
geckosfeet Apr 2013 #62
wickerwoman Apr 2013 #65
Fumesucker Apr 2013 #69
wickerwoman Apr 2013 #71
galileoreloaded Apr 2013 #66
Whisp Apr 2013 #33
bemildred Apr 2013 #36
Arugula Latte Apr 2013 #41
grasswire Apr 2013 #49
Whisp Apr 2013 #58
haikugal Apr 2013 #42
Tree-Hugger Apr 2013 #50
BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #51
Tree-Hugger Apr 2013 #56
BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #57
alittlelark May 2013 #87
MineralMan Apr 2013 #52
DCBob Apr 2013 #53
Autumn Colors Apr 2013 #54
laundry_queen Apr 2013 #84
reformist2 Apr 2013 #60
randome Apr 2013 #61
Godhumor Apr 2013 #70
defacto7 Apr 2013 #77
randome Apr 2013 #78
defacto7 Apr 2013 #81
reformist2 Apr 2013 #79
defacto7 Apr 2013 #80
Mona Apr 2013 #83
Manifestor_of_Light Apr 2013 #85

Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:18 AM

1. Or, to be completely cynical....

 

...the fact that we're identifying the problem and reacting to it more at an early age makes it more prevalent.

In the past, people with certain conditions (like peanut allergies) tended to die early from them, making them less likely to have children and spread the genes. As science progressed and made those conditions less fatal, those recessive genes started becoming even more common.

Not that I'm calling for the death of people with peanut allergies, just offering one cause out of many.

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Response to Pab Sungenis (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:18 AM

4. Also have to consider the rise and use of different pesticides for sure

To answer the question would require laying out the theories and testing them scientifically (oops the repukes won't have any of that) to find out what is really going on

No increase, just better tracking reporting
Increase, but same as other immune diseases (not peanut specific, perhaps things are too clean)
Increase in peanut specific, but causes could be food chain (grow / process / store)
Increase in peanut, but cause is in populace reaction

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Response to on point (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:07 AM

13. I never had food allergies

till I had a bad pesticide exposure in my 40's. I think it's a combo of all the chemicals in our environment.

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Response to womanofthehills (Reply #13)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:53 PM

26. I've thought this to be the case for many, many years.

It would be very interesting to compare peanuts grown in the US with chemicals to peanuts grown in Africa without, and to compare the prevalence of allergies.

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Response to on point (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:10 PM

29. I'm allergic to something they put ON foods

I haven't figured out just WHAT it is yet, but I react sometimes to strawberries, cherries or hazelnuts. Usually only happens if they aren't washed the way *I* would wash them (I wash them very thoroughly) and they aren't from North America. If I wash them (for nuts, if I'm the one who shells them), I'm totally fine and can eat those foods no problem. I think it some kind of pesticide that is used that I react to. I wonder if it's not the same thing for kids and peanuts - especially if there is pesticide residue on the peanuts used in products like peanut butter.

The other theories I subscribe to are the theory where delaying introducing peanuts causes a problem (all my kids were exposed 'early' ie at about a year old to peanuts and other allergens and none have any food allergies at all, despite it running in my family). The other theory is low breastfeeding rates coupled with the hygiene thing. When a mom breastfeeds, the baby gets some of what the mother eats - ask any mother about how babies are sensitive to certain foods she eats. My theory is that when a mother breastfeeds and eats peanut butter, it's like desensitization therapy and the child's immune system gets used to the peanut protein early. Babies that are formula fed and have delayed introduction to peanuts have an immune system that is not at all familiar with the protein and some kids will over react. That's just my theory - although it's not 100%. Even though every single kid I know with peanut allergies was formula fed, my own brother was breastfed and is deathly allergic to fish. Go figure, I was formula fed and I'm not allergic to foods (except for the pesticide link aforementioned) so obviously there's going to be exceptions, but with regards to how the immune system works it makes sense to me. Again, I breastfed all my kids because of our family history of asthma and allergies. They are far less allergic than the rest of us to environmental triggers (though cats seems to be a family wide trigger) and have zero food allergies at all. We're all lactose intolerant though (which I think is just genetics, and isn't 'triggered' by anything like allergies are).

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #29)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:46 PM

39. 13 mo twins in my family had peanut reaction their first exposure.

This happened last month. Their first PBJ. Severe hives, very scary episode. No previous ingestion of any kind of nuts.

They are still breast fed. Their mother ate a lot of peanut butter in pregnancy and after.

So your theory may just be anecdotal.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #39)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:04 PM

43. Or your experience may be anecdotal

There are many formula fed children who never get sick. There are many breastfed babies who do get sick. However, the fact remains that breastfeeding is more beneficial than formula feeding as a whole. There are risks associated with not breastfeeding for both mothers and babies.

This is NOT an indictment of those who formula feed.

There are studies now and then which suggest that breastfeeding may help lower the incidence of allergies or asthma.

There are also theories out there that allergies may be due to poor gut function and poor absorption and breastfeeding has long been known to promote healthy and proper gut function.

There will always be folks who say, "I was formula fed and I am fine," or, "I was breastfed and I have allergies." Or there's me - I was breastfed and I do not have allergies of any sort. My two breastfed children do not have any allergies. There will always be anecdotal experiences that are counter to the norm.

I don't think breastfeeding is a magic bullet for allergies. I think the issue of allergies is more complex. However, I do believe breastfeeding has the potential to be more helpful to that issue than not.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/

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Response to grasswire (Reply #39)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:20 PM

46. Well it's not totally anecdotal

Since many studies show breastfed babies have fewer allergies than formula fed babies. I mentioned my brother, another anecdote, but it doesn't cancel out the 'overall' right? Surely you know how science works. By the way, ironically enough, eating nuts in pregnancy has been linked to an increase in nut allergies, for some reason. So in this case, maybe the nut eating in pregnancy triggered something that couldn't be overcome by the breastfeeding. I didn't eat nuts at all during pregnancy because I simply couldn't stomach them. I ate tons of them after and while breastfeeding though.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:24 AM

2. Now THIS is the question! And let me add to it: where the heck is the

geometric rise in autism coming from. There's a lot of manipulation of diagnostic criteria which accounts for some of it, but we are now seeing that it doesn't account for nearly enough, and autism is exploding too.

Also, certain lymphomas and other autoimmune diseases.

What the heck are we doing to ourselves?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:15 AM

16. Exploding? Geometric?

Maybe autism is caused people adopting the language of sensationalistic journalism as if it's reality.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:19 PM

55. Actually, the increase in autism has been explained.

 

In fact it was predicted. It's almost entirely the result of expanded definitions meant to reclassify individuals who would not have been and were not diagnosed as autistic as being in the autistic spectrum in order to be able to recognize and help them. We went from a benchmark view where either you were or you were not autistic (and that benchmark fell to the more-extreme end of the current spectrum) to recognizing that it's a spectrum of ability.

These were the kids that even 20 years ago were just dismissed off as "funny" or "slow" or "dumb" or "socially-stunted" and educationally-warehoused, not expected to make much of themselves. But we've had the means and understanding to help and educate these kids for decades, lack only for the will and resources to do so; put them in the right classrooms, teach them with educational methodologies that address their differentiated needs and they become productive and functional adults capable of full achievement. When you change the diagnostic criterion explicitly to increase diagnoses because you recognize that more of the borderline cases really are autistic and you can help them, wouldn't you expect diagnoses to increase? It did...then the public freaked out over it.

What happens when go back to the previous diagnostic criterion? Most of these increased cases move back to "normal"...the rest can be attributed to better assessment means.

There isn't an explosion of autism...there's a parallax between the reality of where the number of cases is (and probably always has been) and the public perception of where the number of cases should be...and there are people who are flogging that pony to line their own pockets. (Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield M.D. for two.) Note that legitimate Autism researchers and organizations like Autism Speaks almost never talk about an explosion of autism but a better awareness of autism.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #55)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:09 PM

73. When I was a child, children on the high end of the autism spectrum were

just considered "weird kids." Those on the low end of the autism spectrum were considered "retarded."

I never even heard the term "autism" when I was growing up.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:32 AM

3. The mystery deepens: NO reported allergies to peanut-based Plumpy'Nut in Africa!?


"Itís inevitable that peanut allergy concerns arise when discussing Plumpyínut.† Here in the United States itís become completely normal for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or any peanut product for that matter, to be banned from school cafeterias.† With over 3 million Americans afflicted with peanut or nut allergies, itís naturally assumed that peanut allergies are a global health problem.† Au contraire!† In many parts of Africa, peanut allergies donít even exist! Scientists credit this to the Westís lowered immune system that, ironically, has developed as a result of improved hygiene, vaccinations, and antibiotics.

Food allergies seem far less common in poor countries than in rich countries, says Andrť Briend, creator of Plumpyínut.† Doctors without Borders worker Dr. Shepherd, seconds Briendís observation claiming that HE HAS YET TO COME ACROSS A CHILD WITH A PEANUT ALLERGY IN AFRICA.† Clearly, peanut allergies have not interfered with Plumpyínutís relief efforts.

While another ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF), EZ Paste, also known as BP-100, was created peanut-free, Plumpyínut is still more widely used and accepted. Because the peanut is already a staple food in Africa, children are delighted by its sweetened taste and parents donít have to worry about allergies!"

http://plumpynutpress.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/peanut-allergies/

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:19 PM

31. ". . . lowered immune system." This is not correct.

The immune system is OVER-reacting, hence the theories that we're not giving it enough to normally react to.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:35 AM

5. I don't think being "too clean" passes the laugh test. I don't think people keep their homes as

 

clean as 75 years ago and I think you'll agree the air and soil is dirtier and the water processed through miunicipal water plants does not filter out some of the more exotic chemicals and aritificial hormones. Antibiotics are detectable in many rivers. We're living in a country that is polluted in a new way. Then there's the fact that many older homes and apartments are contaminated with lead paint. Even repainting will not bind the lead.
Has anyone mentioned the increase in asthma? It's risen and is more serious in the young then it used to be as well as more widespread.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:13 AM

15. I don't think it is about how clean people's houses are.

 

When my dad worked and my mom was a stay-at-home house keeper, yeah the place was always cleaner than after mom went back to work, but I think this is a bit different.

We didn't used to have a trash can by the restroom door so you could use your last towel to not touch the door handle. There didn't used to be hand sanitizer dispensers, well, everywhere. The guy putting your sandwich together at the local burger joint didn't wear gloves. Used to be not even the dentist wore gloves. Used to be you actually had to touch things in a public restroom to get soap and water.

Just of the few recent changes that may be an example of "too clean".

ETA...both my parents smoked...and drank. One of the big kicks when I was a kid was riding our bikes behind the DDT spray truck pretending we were fighter pilots zooming through the clouds. I come from the generation that ran outside to look at the mushroom cloud.

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Response to MindPilot (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:47 PM

25. Thanks for the clarification. Study after study, published by reputable journals say washing

 

your hands is one of the best ways of avoiding common pathogens. I follow their advice.(I do think hand sanitizers are overused and over sold although there is a place for them and I carry one.)

I lived in SW Utah just after the USA stopped bombing itself(86 times) and saw the reports of so many people, especially kids, dying from cancers induced by the A-tests. St George was a hot spot.There were Atomic Energy Commission cars with
technicians with Geiger counters stopping and monitoring every so often but they wouldn't talk to you and nothing was published but the people were dying. The A-tests stopped and in a couple of decades the area had average amounts of cancer.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:55 PM

27. I don't think it's a matter of being too clean so much as all the chemicals sprayed around

to achieve that goal. I used Lysol for years when I probably could have gotten the same results with vinegar!

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:15 PM

30. a friend of mine grew up in a sterile house

Her mom is the kind of person who would spray Lysol on something before my friend was allowed to touch it. She never played outside as a kid (if she did it was very monitored) or ate mud, etc.

Said friend works in an assisted living facility. She (27) goes to the doctor more frequently than her 80 and 90 something residents do. She's on more pharmaceuticals than they are too.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:27 PM

35. Your comparisons don't cover enough time. People

used to (long before you were born) live on dirt floors (think hookworms), with poor ventilation, animals of all types in some cultures, bathe only in warm weather, and we evolved to take care of these threats. Now we mostly don't have them, but still have the same active immune systems. Perhaps after some number of generations of modern living, human immune systems will tamp down but be no longer able to cope with extreme threats.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:15 PM

44. "Too Clean" in a microbial sense

There's different measures of "clean". Our houses today have far fewer microbes than 40 years ago. It's the lack of microbes that are relevant when discussing the immune system.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:00 PM

67. I had a neighbor once who had/has MS

and one of the things the doctors find in common with folks that suffer from MS was overly-sterile homes. I think what this may be referring to is all the antibac soaps, bleach wipes, etc. Another thing to mention is all the antibiotics that are being pumped into farmed animals. Some scientists believe that's being passed onto people.

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Response to byeya (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:16 PM

75. Allergies and asthma increase when a country becomes industrialized

and that includes China.

OK, I've been to China, and while it's a fascinating country with friendly people and great food, I would never call it "clean." In fact, it's downright grubby in most places.

On the other hand, Japanese people tend to be almost crazy clean. Early travelers remarked on it. Yet their asthma and allergy rates went up in the 1960s.

I never had allergies until I was six years old, when we moved to a house along an arterial street that carried a busy state highway through our town in Wisconsin. (We had lived in Minneapolis before, but on a quiet residential street with almost no traffic and no arterial streets for two or three blocks in any direction.) Within a few months after we moved to that Wisconsin town, I was practically incapacitated from respiratory allergies, since I was coughing so much that I couldn't sleep. I have been on antihistamines almost continuously since then.

My hypothesis is that the increase in respiratory allergies and asthma comes from car exhaust. When car usage becomes widespread in a country, the asthma rates go up.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:36 AM

6. People often conflate "allergies" and "sensitivities" as well.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:49 AM

7. Yes, you are 100% correct. Person "A" says, I can't eat Mexican cuisine and that

 

usually means he/she can't digest it comfortably but that's not an allergy. It's unpleasant but it doesn't repress your respiratory system and blood pressure, two symptoms of an allergy.

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Response to byeya (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:32 PM

37. I agree. I see so much of that in my practice.

I'll ask a new patient about any food allergies they may have.

"I'm allergic to cheese."

"I see. And how does that allergic reaction present?"

"Huh?"

"What reaction do you get from exposure to or ingestion of cheese? Edema? Respiratory distress?"

"Huh? Oh no! I just don't like it very much."

"Okay, well, that's not the same as an allergy."

"Oh..."

I stand by my assertion (purely anecdotal, but made from a point of view within the medical profession) that peanut allergies are overdiagnosed, and that panicky parents, however well-meaning, are confusion a sensitivity with an allergy. Or even simple distaste.

Tidal wave of fury, indignation, and disapprobation preparing to drown me in 3...2...1...

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Response to Aristus (Reply #37)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:27 PM

48. Also, people can have trouble digesting foods and call this an 'allergy'

For example, I am not allergic to nuts, but I don't digest them well. As I have Crohn's disease, largely controllable by low medication doses and some dietary adjustments, I avoid nuts for this reason. However, if I do happen to eat a nut, it will not cause a life-threatening reaction. I think that some people call everything that they don't digest well an 'allergy'. A common example is that some people are poor at digesting milk and drinking more than small amounts has a laxative effect on them. This is different from a real allergy to milk, but is sometimes confused with it.

It is a good idea to exclude foods that one finds indigestible from one's diet, but an occasional error in this respect is not likely to cause acute severe illness, whereas a real allergy might.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:28 AM

19. That's a good point. /nt

 

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:02 AM

8. Peanuts aren't what they used to be

Peanuts have changed. The ones roasted in the shell taste awful, kind of dusty. The already shelled ones have no taste at all. They have done something genetic-engineering style to peanuts--at least, that's what it tastes like--and they now make me a little nauseous. Though I've had nuts just about every day of my adult life---and have no problem with other nuts. The problem with peanuts tasting "different" started about 3 years ago.

Anyone else notice this?

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Response to zentrum (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:39 AM

10. "have no problem with other nuts" - peanuts are legumes (beans), though

and not nuts, so I wonder why people have a problem with these particular legumes.



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Response to Lex (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 09:10 AM

86. That's an interesting point.

How many people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to other beans and peas? In the other thread about the kid with the peanut allergy, the mother wants all tree nuts banned from the school as well as peanuts, but there's no mention of peas or beans, which are much more closely related to peanuts.

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Response to zentrum (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:21 AM

17. "tastes like" genetic engineering?

Genetic engineering has a certain taste to it, to which you believe you are sensitive? This taste change you claim to taste being caused by something else, or just being your imagination gone wild, doesn't rate as a higher probability?

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #17)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:26 AM

18. LOL!

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Response to zentrum (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:23 AM

82. AFAIK, there are no GM peanuts in commercial production

The only GM peanuts so far developed are ones specifically designed to NOT trigger an allergic reaction: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16359530/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/scientists-get-ok-engineered-peanuts/#.UXyjz8qyKSo

The work could lead to peanuts that yield more oil for biofuel production, need less rainfall and grow more efficiently, with built-in herbicide and pest resistance ó traits that have already been engineered into major crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans and canola.

For consumers, the work could lead to peanuts with enhanced flavor, more vitamins and nutrients, and possibly even nuts that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions, a life-threatening problem for a small percentage of the population and a major food industry concern.

A few researchers have been genetically modifying peanuts for at least a decade, but their discoveries have had little impact because the industry, fearing a consumer backlash, was reluctant to support the work.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:32 AM

9. ALL allergies have increased.

I'm allergic to several things. I had only one allergy as a kid, but it has become several things in the past 10 years or so.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:20 PM

32. There's more pollen and allergens in the atmosphere

My mom and her 7 siblings grew up on a farm in the boonies. Only one of them had allergies growing up, although back then everyone thought she had a constant cold - "Oh that Barb, she's ALWAYS sick with a cold!" when she was an adult her doctor diagnosed allergies and for the first time ever my aunt said she could breathe when she took allergy meds, lol, it was a huge deal to her that she was miserable her entire life and it was all just allergies.

However, now every single one of them has severe seasonal allergies. Even my mom who didn't develop allergies until *I* was an adult. I didn't develop allergies until my teens. Every year it gets worse. Same with my aunts and uncles. We all suffer greatly and we all take allergy meds now.

From what I understand is that the higher the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the more pollen and allergens that plants release. That makes a LOT of sense. From what I read, there is double or triple the amount of pollen floating around in the summer than there was 40 years ago. Maybe we'll all die of allergies before global warming has a chance to do us in.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #32)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:48 PM

40. some of the most popular trees for street planting in the last 40 years - forgot whatthey are called

 

but hey are blooming now- cause a lot of trouble. And they are everywhere!
I read people used to move to AZ for allerigies, but they started planting eastern trees, grass and plants that caused trouble.



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Response to bettyellen (Reply #40)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:26 PM

47. Are you talking about poplars?

I'm allergic to the darn poplar fluff that floats around every year. That goddamn stuff is awful and is EVERYWHERE in the summer. Ick. Love it when I get that fluff up my nose. Most nurseries around here only sell male poplars to counteract the fluff problem. I've heard some doctors say it's not allergenic, but I actually tested positive for allergy to poplar fluff when I had allergy testing, so it's a problem for me.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #47)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:06 PM

68. You wouldn't do well around here.

We have a lot of cottonwoods -- same thing, fluff everywhere. I think the birches and aspens put out some fairly significant allergy-inducing pollen, as well.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #68)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:00 PM

72. Weirdly enough

I lived in Northern BC for awhile - along the Alaska highway, and the trees there (pine, birch, aspen) didn't bother me at all - my allergies and asthma were really in control there. I'm further south now (though still in Canada) and my allergies are far worse than they were when I lived up north. It's strange. As mentioned by someone else - where I am now is where I grew up and where I developed my allergies, so maybe that's why. Up north, all the pollens were foreign to my body so they didn't recognize them as allergens just yet, I suppose.

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Response to bettyellen (Reply #40)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:09 PM

74. Actually, the problem is that the trees planted

are now usually male trees. This has happened because female trees bear fruit and the fruit falling can make a mess on the sidewalks and streets. Male trees have pollen. Learned all about this in my horticulture classes in the late 80's.

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Response to Bohunk68 (Reply #74)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:18 PM

76. In Japan, they planted cedar trees all over the place a few decades ago

Now there are widespread allergies to cedar pollen.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:43 AM

11. It's probably a combination of factors.

Perhaps there are more products being sold today that have peanuts in them?

They are a popular staple. I began to balance my hypoglycemic swings by adding it to my oatmeal each morning. Can't live without it.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:48 AM

12. The high temperatures used for roasting (800 F) in the US may modify proteins

 

Effects of cooking methods on peanut allergenicity.

BACKGROUND:

Allergy to peanut is a significant health problem. Interestingly, the prevalence of peanut allergy in China is much lower than that in the United States, despite a high rate of peanut consumption in China. In China, peanuts are commonly fried or boiled, whereas in the United States peanuts are typically dry roasted.
...

CONCLUSION:

The methods of frying or boiling peanuts, as practiced in China, appear to reduce the allergenicity of peanuts compared with the method of dry roasting practiced widely in the United States. Roasting uses higher temperatures that apparently increase the allergenic property of peanut proteins and may help explain the difference in prevalence of peanut allergy observed in the 2 countries.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11398088

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:29 AM

20. That wouldn't surprise me.

Granted, allergies are becoming more common, but the peanut allergy is so intense that I wonder if either the type of peanut or the method of processing has changed in the last 50 years.

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #20)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:55 AM

21. The other change is that lots of peanuts are the dry roasted type in jars

 

Peanuts used to be either in the shell or the greasy type in cans and plastic bags.

Planters dry roast, for example, contains Torula yeast as an ingredient:
Torula, in its inactive form (usually labeled as torula yeast), is widely used as a flavouring in processed foods and pet foods. It is produced from wood sugars, as a byproduct of paper production. It is pasteurized and spray-dried to produce a fine, light grayish-brown powder with a slightly yeasty odor and gentle, slightly meaty taste.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torula
http://www.planters.com/varieties/nutrition-information.aspx?Site=1&Product=2900007325

Mmmmm, good!

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:12 AM

14. Also, allergies are poorly understood anyway. I developed an egg allergy in adulthood and so stopped

eating eggs for about 10 years. I had had several reactions where my tongue swelled up and my blood pressure dropped after eating eggs (after never having had a problem before). A few years ago I went in to get tested again. The egg allergy was gone, but I tested strongly positive for soy, peanuts, lots of pollen and dander, and some other ones I can't even remember. The testing reactions were so strong that the doctor was stunned when I told her I didn't get reactions from these foods. She insisted I start carrying an epi pen just in case, because a reaction can come on at any time after ingesting an allergen. So I do, but I still eat anything I want. It's odd.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:46 PM

24. I'm mildly allergic to egg white

but I do great with the yoke. Some people are only allergic to one part of the egg. So I make scrambled eggs with the yokes only.
However, if I hard boil the eggs and put the peeled eggs in pickled beets with vinegar somehow the vinegar makes me able to digest the whites.
Also, people react less to raw eggs but you only want to have raw eggs if you have your own chickens. I have chickens that I only feed organic food to - so every morning I have 2 raw egg yokes in my smoothie.

I used to carry an epi pen yrs ago but I've gotten 90% better with my food allergies. I think moving to the country and eating totally organic was the big difference in my health.

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Response to womanofthehills (Reply #24)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:33 PM

38. Do you really have to put the boiled eggs in vinegar?

I read, then tried out, the theory that well cooked eggs do not provoke the reaction for many people. Turned out to be true for me.

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Response to womanofthehills (Reply #24)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:20 PM

45. I was once told

Egg whites contain more inflammatory compounds than egg yolks. Maybe this is why you are mildly allergic.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:05 PM

22. I'm almost 50 and have an anaphalactic allergy to All nuts

Peanuts and tree nuts. Almost died several times. Teachers, and even some doctors did not believe it. I was kind of a canary in the coal mine. As I've gotten older my allergy has not lost it's severity and I have become increasingly sensitive to wheat.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:37 PM

23. Actually - new study says it's pesticides in our water

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203081621.htm

"Dec. 3, 2012 ó Food allergies are on the rise, affecting 15 million Americans. And according to a new study published in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), dichlorophenol-containing pesticides could be partially to blame."



http://www.mnn.com/health/allergies/stories/food-allergies-may-be-caused-by-pesticides-in-tap-water

Food allergies may be caused by pesticides in tap water

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an 18 percent uptick in food allergies between 1997 and 2007. Food allergies now affect a whopping 15 million Americans. But according to a new study published in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, it looks like the increase is more than a hypochondriacal diet fad. Like the aphorism goes, there's something in the water ó and that something is pesticides."

--
Maybe my allergies are improving because I have good mountain well water.

Also - "A vaccine that can protect people from peanut allergies could be in clinical trials within a year, according to scientists from the Mount Sinai Medical School, New York.."

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Response to womanofthehills (Reply #23)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:25 PM

34. That's really interesting

Growing up I lived in an area where there would be lots of pesticide run off. However, I lived up north when I had my kids and all my kids have barely any allergies compared to the rest of the family. I've always though it was because I breastfed them, but maybe the water had something to do with it - it was all very pure, very hard, mountain run off water, no agriculture in the area. Hm. (although their teeth suffered from lack of fluoride in that water).

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:55 PM

28. Maybe 100 years ago anyone with a severe allergy would have died from it.

That would remove them from the gene pool and reduce the number of people with the allergy genes being born. Of course I have no idea if peanut allergies can be inherited.

I agree with the environmental theory as well. Probably a number of overlapping contributors.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #28)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 05:41 PM

59. Are allergies genetically based?

I'd like to see some evidence of that.

But half of your theory makes sense, that is, before epipens and emergency rooms people, including children, experiencing severe allergic reactions would die after their first exposure, and it's probably fair to say often times people wouldn't even know what caused their death.

I'm allergic to bee stings, and would have died years ago without my epipens and visits to the local ER.

However, no one else in my family, going back several generations as far as I know, has ever had anything resembling my bee sting allergy. So, again, I'm not too sure what if any role genetics plays in all this.

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Response to thucythucy (Reply #59)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 06:59 PM

62. I am not sure either. just a guess that there may be a genetic component.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #28)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:54 PM

65. People have only really been eating peanuts since the 1930s

when modern strains were developed. They were used as animal feed before that. It was also quite rare to have peanut oil in things before the 1970s and the big scare about saturated fats turned everyone off butter and lard. Now peanut oil is in everything.

I think it's a number of things as well: people having much more exposure and at an earlier age, general inflammation from poor diet and exposure to all kinds of unnatural shit, better understanding and treatment so that people with the allergy are more likely to survive and live longer, more media exposure, etc.

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Response to wickerwoman (Reply #65)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:28 PM

69. There's a Civil War era song about eating peanuts..

They used to be called Goober Peas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goober_Peas

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #69)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:54 PM

71. Yes, in desperation.

The point of the song is that they had nothing else to eat, so they ate "goober peas" which were usually animal feed.

From your link:

"After being cut off from the rail lines and their farm land, they had little to eat aside from boiled peanuts (or "goober peas" which often served as an emergency ration."

Irish people ate grass during the potato faminine but that doesn't mean it was a staple or that grass allergies are suddenly more common today than they were then.

And they were a different strain. George Washington Carver developed the modern varieties in the teens and 20s and then they become a more common "people food" in the 30s thanks to his marketing campaign. They were commonly eaten a bit earlier in Asia, especially China, but more than 200-300 year ago, nobody really ate peanuts so it's not like cave people had some amazing anti-peanut allergy diet that we've strayed away from (apart from not eating them in the first place).

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #28)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 07:56 PM

66. yep. we are diluting the gene pool with tech

 

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:22 PM

33. I'm convinced that part of health problems is the super clean stupidity

 

disinfectants and bacteria killers in every cleaning product makes bodies weaker against invaders.

super clean people gross me out.

There should be a study of what kinds and how many commercial cleaners and how often they spray that shit around the house, a study made of the parents of peanut allergy kids and what they have in their cupboards.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #33)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:30 PM

36. I think that is part of it, resulting in poorly trained immune systems.

People don't seem to realize that your immune system is a learning system, it has to be exposed to the things it will protect your from.

But also, all that cleanliness is developing resistant bugs, they are learning a lot.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #33)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:49 PM

41. My former sister-in-law was an obsessive cleaner.

 

She'd spray Formula 409 into her refrigerator to clean it -- while the food was still in it.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #33)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:39 PM

49. interestingly enough....

....the "we like dirt" family group in my larger family (she's a public health officer for the state, and does not expose her two young 4-6 year-old children to regular bathing or handwashing -- the kids are literally sticky most of the time) is the family group that recently suffered from a horrible double bout of nanovirus. Just horrible.

Another anecdote, I know.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #49)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:35 PM

58. ewww, that sounds gross!

 

sticky little people!

I don't consider bathing as an obsession about being 'clean'. Unless you use Lysol or Pine Sol or something ridiculous. but yah, sticky smelly people. . .

ow.

George Carlin had a show about germs and such and he said that he and his friends used to swim in a river full of sewage - well, that doesn't sound too healthy either! I think there is some middle ground.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:56 PM

42. There's also

thought that our gut flora is compromised. This is an important area to research...there may be several factors working here.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/medicalprofs/fecal-transplants-ddue1012.html

My own history reflects how little is understood regarding allergies and food sensitivity...

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:46 PM

50. To be frank

I think we just plain old screwed ourselves. We're too clean, too full of chemicals and we eat like crap.

I think there are a large variety of factors when it cones to food allergies. Everything from poor breastfeeding rates to sterile environments to overuse of chemical cleaners to processed foods to delayed introduction to foods and everything in between.

There are a lot of theories regarding gut health and it's influence on immunity. Poor gut health = more issues with immunity and a higher incidence of inflammation. There are a billion factors in gut heath. Foods treated with antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides and waxes (too make them look pretty at the store) are certainly not making us healthy. We are ingesting a lot of chemicals in our foods. We overuse soy. We add artificial flavors and artificial colors (coal tar derivatives - YUM). We eat foods that are too far removed from anything resembling a natural state.

I think we screwed ourselves when we recommended the delay of certain foods until kids turn 2. I really think that has played a hand in the increase in food allergies. Conversely, there have been studies in recent years that suggest the introduction of solid foods before the age of 6 months increases the risk of allergies. We've gone decades with babies getting cereal and rice in their milk at just a few weeks of age (my own husband was started on rice cereal at 2 weeks) and now studies say, oops, that probably wasn't for the best. The wisdom has moved to waiting until 6 months before introducing solids in order to maintain gut health and reduce allergies.

We just plain have too many chemicals. Someone said in another post that it's the chemicals we use to keep clean that are damaging us. True. From Lysol to fabric softener to carpet cleaners to Febreeze and all of those other cleaners, our houses are just chemical bombs.

Hand sanitizer is a big one. That is way overused and has royally screwed us. It may have a time and a place, but it's way overused. I cannot tell you how many mothers I have watched change a poopy diaper, slather on some hand sanitizer and then handle food. Disgusting. First, your getting your sanitizer goo chemicals on the food. Second - hand sanitizer does not effectively clean your hands and dirt and Poo can still be on your skin. Wash your hands....but make sure your soap is not antibacterial. We have way overused antibiotics, antibacterial agents and other germ killers. We do need a good dose of german now and then.

Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and friends are everywhere. Spring is pushing through in my neck of the woods and so are the landscapers with their weed killing sprays, pesticides, fertilizers and lawn dyes just because everyone needs to have a greener lawn without a single dandelion than their neighbor. And then our kids roll around in these chemical lawns. It's an assault to the immune system.

And don't even get me started on the Standard American Diet.

I apologize for the novel. I really just wanted to say that it's a variety of factors.

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Response to Tree-Hugger (Reply #50)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:55 PM

51. Pollution and allergies

 

In a Research article in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Gruzieva et al. hypothesized that air pollution exposure may contribute to the development of allergic sensitization in children up to school age. They used data collected on more than 2,500 children followed from birth in the BAMSE project in Stockholm, Sweden. The children had blood tests for antibodies (IgE, immunoglobulin E) to common allergens at 4 and 8 years old, and extensive information was available from repeated questionnaires on lifestyle characteristics, allergies within the family, as well as on environmental exposures. The assessment of exposure to locally emitted air pollution from traffic was based on a methodology developed to estimate long-term source-specific exposure using dispersion models. Time-activity patterns were taken into account, considering the time children spent at home, daycare and/or school, to increase the precision in the exposure assessment.

http://www.aaaai.org/global/latest-research-summaries/Current-JACI-Research/air-pollution-allergic-sensitization-child.aspx

Really good documentary:



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Response to BethanyQuartz (Reply #51)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:26 PM

56. Thank you

I am definitely going to have to sit down and watch that.

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Response to Tree-Hugger (Reply #56)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:32 PM

57. You're welcome!

 

There are several other documentaries on the subject worth checking out on Youtube, including other BBC ones.

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Response to BethanyQuartz (Reply #51)

Wed May 1, 2013, 01:05 AM

87. Excellent documentary.

I have an anaphalactic nut allergy and have has episodes of 'randomly occurring' asthma in the past,

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:01 PM

52. I have no idea, but I'm glad I'm not allergic to peanuts.

We feed the squirrels that inhabit our huge maple tree peanuts all year. Roasted, unsalted, in the shell. Today, on the first decent weather day here in the Twin Cities, I finally fired up the lawnmower and went over the front yard, mulching the peanut shells from the last six months. Uff da! When I came back in, my hair and clothes were just covered in peanut shell dust. Once again, I have proven that I have no peanut allergies, and that my yard looks much better without an inch-thick layer of empty peanut shells.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:15 PM

53. I think its something to do with mold such as aflatoxin which grows on peanuts.

Perhaps we are not storing peanuts properly or storing them too long thus causing more mold to accumulate.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 03:16 PM

54. C-sections?

 

Babies Born by C-Section at Risk of Developing Allergies

Feb. 24, 2013 ó For expectant moms who may contemplate the pros and cons of natural child birth or Caesarian section, a Henry Ford Hospital study suggests that C-section babies are susceptible to developing allergies by age two.

Researchers found that babies born by C-section are five times more likely to develop allergies than babies born naturally when exposed to high levels of common allergens in the home such as those from dogs, cats and dust mites.

The study was presented February 24 at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in San Antonio.

"This further advances the hygiene hypothesis that early childhood exposure to microorganisms affects the immune system's development and onset of allergies," says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford Department of Health Sciences and the study's lead author. "We believe a baby's exposure to bacteria in the birth canal is a major influencer on their immune system."


More at link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225091904.htm

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Response to Autumn Colors (Reply #54)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 03:50 AM

84. That's really interesting.

The only child of mine (out of 4) that hasn't had hives or seasonal allergies is my one and only vaginally birthed baby. All babies were breastfed so that would have had no effect. Anecdotal, certainly, but something to think about.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 06:09 PM

61. Peanut allergies? Who doesn't love peanuts?

 

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:41 PM

70. I worked with a scientist once who was convinced that all people were allergic to at least two

Things.

They may be different from person to person, but one of the things would lead to a fatal reaction.

His hypothesis was that most people never come into contact with their fatal allergy, so they are completely unaware of it.

Just a discussion over beer, but I found it interesting enough to remember all these years later.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:53 PM

77. I don't have an opinion of the answer to the question posed

But I could live off peanuts and a kid. My family ate nuts as well as peanuts like a hobby. But my daughter has a life threatening peanut allergy. We have to carry a eppy-pen (spelling?) to jam in her leg wherever we go in case she comes into contact with any peanut product. Talking about hard to understand why it exists.... that's me.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #77)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:55 PM

78. So...cannabilism, huh? Check the TOS.

 

Or did you mean 'goat'?

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Response to randome (Reply #78)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:12 AM

81. Ha... that's funny...

I totally missed that.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #77)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:13 PM

79. How odd. Makes me wonder if peanut-allergy kids are correlated with peanut-obsessed parents?


If so, this would also explain the rise in peanut allergies - I don't know the stats, but I have to think kids from the 50s-90s ate more peanut butter than any kids ever before in all history!

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #79)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:11 AM

80. I have wondered as much.

My father ate peanuts mostly in shell, I ate them all the time, my siblings still eat them to this day. Who knows? I have never known allergies from anything.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 01:37 AM

83. my dogs too...

My last two dogs have been allergic to peanuts, completely odd. One of them was also allergic to cotton. Makes no sense.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 05:19 AM

85. I think a lot of people have suppressed immune systems.

Whether you're in a clean or dirty environment wouldn't matter. A dirty environment would not make your immune system stronger, you'd just have more allergies.

Autoimmune diseases run in my family and so do allergies.

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