Food allergies are affecting more than 15 million Americans – 6 million of them children. Of all common allergies, allergy to peanuts is one of the most common. It can be quite difficult to keep your kid away from peanuts, which are often part of many foods. The consequences can be serious and uncontrolled allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock and even death. The new study conducted by the National Jewish Health promises a new, groundbreaking way of controlling how allergens like peanuts affect our system.
Allergies and peanuts
It is not clear what exactly causes allergy to peanuts. When someone who is allergic to peanuts consumes them, peanuts cause a particular protein to be formed in their blood. The body immune system reacts like it has been attacked and produces symptoms typical for allergies, such as sneezing, feeling of sickness, tingling in the mouth, throat and lips, lightheadedness. The reaction is even more pronounced with people who suffer from asthma. Allergy to peanuts can have such severe reaction that it can be life-threatening.
While many food allergies disappear as the children grow up, the latest findings show that in the last five years children continued to be allergic to many food products such as peanuts and not outgrow them as before.
The study was conducted on mice allergic to peanuts. The scientists from the National Jewish Health found that mice that are allergic to peanuts have increased level of the enzyme called Pim 1 kinase in their small intestine after eating peanuts. The peanuts caused them to produce this enzyme, which caused allergic reaction by increasing the plasma levels of histamine. By administering AR460770, made by Array Biopharma, scientists were able to block the activity of the enzyme, preventing mice from having typical allergy symptoms such as diarrhea.
Researchers believe that their findings present promising new treatment potential for the allergy to peanuts, and maybe even other food allergens. Still, there will be some time before the results found in mice are translated into viable drug that can actually help people allergic to peanuts. Until then, moms need to read food labels very carefully and to warn kids about their allergy if they are spending some time in the homes of their friends or eating away from home.