A new position paper in the September issue of the journal Allergy says that food allergy may be caused by immunological cross-reactions to common allergies from things inhaled. The position is penned by researchers who believe they may have found links between the allergenic structures of inhaled allergens and foods.

The position paper was lead by Thomas Werfel, M.D., PhD from Hannover Medical University. He and his colleagues note that some food allergy reactions can result from the inhalation of cross-reactive allergens in the air that are not the food’s allergen. In vitro, the immunoglobulin E (IgE) that is commonly associated with allergens can be stimulated by airborne allergens that are not the allergen diagnosed.

Pollen allergens are up and sensitivities to other allergens may be happening.

“As we are facing an increasing incidence of pollen allergies,” the authors write, “a shift in sensitization patterns and changes in nutritional habits, and the occurrence of new, so far unknown allergens due to cross-reactions are expected.”

After first eating a food with a cross-reactive allergen, for example, reactions may occur despite the sufferer not having a known allergy to the food in question. The authors are seeking more research into cross-reactive allergens and to attempt to predict the risk of reaction.

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