Food allergies are fairly common in the U.S., and having one can mean the difference between eating a common meal one with eggs, nuts or fish for example with hardly a thought, or avoiding such a meal like the plague.
A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation stated that between 3 and 4 percent of American adults suffer from a food allergy, along with an estimated 6 percent of children. The incidence of this problem has increased by 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to the report.
The causes for such a condition are complex, and typically involve an overreaction to certain environmental compounds by the body’s immune cells. This reaction can be anywhere from mild to life-threatening, and sometimes individuals first discover they have a severe allergy after suffering serious side effects, including extreme inflammation or anaphylactic shock.
Besides gradual exposure to allergens, the new study notes that alternative treatments for allergies include Chinese herbal supplement therapy, which may dampen the Th2 immune response and has been shown to offer some lasting protection against violent reactions to peanuts.
For individuals who have nutrient deficiencies caused by the avoidance of certain foods, taking a daily vitamin supplement may be able to help.