Are food allergies more common these days than in previous generations?
Is it because we’re exposed to new foods, or have foods changed causing an increased sensitivity, or has an external factor changed?
Global allergy experts recently met in Australia to discuss the possible rise in allergy rates in developed countries and why Australia has some of the highest allergy rates globally.
An article in The Age, Why Melbourne is the food allergy capital of the world, highlighted some of the main theories discussed at the recent conference.
Professor Hamida Hammad, from Belgium, has been studying how children exposed to dust on dairy farms are protected against asthma and allergies, in the hope of creating a vaccine.
Her team found most children exposed to farm dust produced a protein called A20, which seemed to protect them from inflammation responses. Day-care centres are already being built on farms in Europe to ensure small children have exposure to farm material, she said.
Other theories are that developed countries are now too clean, vitamin D deficiencies, genetics, and gut inflammation. In actuality it is probably a combination of all of these factors.
What do you think? Have any theories on what’s causing the rise of allergies? Share them in the comments below!