Food allergies can be annoying and even deadly, depending on the severity of the reaction. According to recent statistics, food allergy rates are rising around the world.CNNrecently delved into the question of why humans have allergies at all – with surprising results.
According toCNN,allergies result from the immune system reacting to a substance most people’s bodies recognize as safe. While some scientists believe that allergies developed from an immune response to parasitic worms, others point out that common food and environmental allergens have little in common with these parasites.
Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov, professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, says there’s another explanation for why the immune system would respond to foods. In an article in the journalNature,Medzhitov and colleagues argue that allergies developed as a way to remove harmful substances from the body. A running nose, mucus in the respiratory system, and vomiting are signs of your body’s efforts to expel something.
Mendzhitov hypothesizes that certain foods may be slightly toxic. Some people’s bodies are better able to detoxify by themselves, while others develop food allergies, thereby defending their bodies. As evidence, he points to a 2011 study that suggested that allergies may prevent gliomas, a common form of brain tumor. However, more research must be done to explore the potential ways in which allergies could prevent cancers from developing.
Dr, Robert Wood, Director of Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, commented “This is a fascinating paper that sheds new light on why some people develop allergies and others do not.”