Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Nutrition

Theories: What causes an allergy?

See also

A few big theories float around as to why people develop allergies, however none of them are 100% correct. FARE suggested, it’s a mixture of reasons and theories. The reality is we have no answers and each person’s body is different.

We can define allergy today, just as we can define cancer, but there is no cure. People suffer days or weeks after allergic reactions.

Today we discuss some of the common theories as to why we may have allergies but also discuss the holes in them:

Theory 1. Hygiene Hypothesis: The hygiene hypothesis states that excessive cleanliness interrupts the normal development of the immune system, and this change leads to an increase in allergies.

Holes: Many adults with food allergies grew up on farms, we ate everything, we played in the dirt, we were exposed to a lot of things. There are more adults with food allergies than children- by #'s and the medical trend today is more adults developing multiple food allergies to things they ate regularly.

While scientist have studied rural children vs. city children and allergy prevalence, the difference is not as drastic as people want to believe. (9.8% city children have allergies vs. 6.2% rural children have allergies). The point is they have allergies in the city AND in the country. It's doesn't matter where they live, they still have them.

Theory 2. GMO's- genetically modified organisms: Because our food is genetically modified means it is causing us to develop other illness and especially food allergies.

Holes: Wheat (one of the top 10 allergens) is not a GMO crop. While milk, soy, corn, sugar beets, cottonseed, and alfalfa are the most common GMO crops in the US, food allergies are in other countries as well. UK or Japan still have food allergies and don't allow GMO products. Allergies are allergies, food or not. Many of us will come to find out that if we've struggled with seasonal allergies and get tested for food allergies in today's world, we will have them and vice versa.

Theory 3. "We replace every cell in our body every 7-10 years": This theory is basically that every 7 to 10 years we may become new humans.

Holes: DNA is not replaced, every 7 to 10 years. We do NOT replace EVERY cell. There are some truths to this, but it simply is NOT accurate. Allergies like peanut & shellfish can stick for life. (Many people have had peanut allergies beyond 15 years)

Theory 4. Increased reporting: Heightened awareness among doctors, parents, teachers and the general public about the symptoms and potential consequences of food allergies may contribute the reason we are meeting more people with food allergy. Additionally, clinical research in food allergy is advancing and earlier studies may have underestimated the rates of food allergy.

Holes: There are no holes in this one- it is just a fact. It doesn't explain why we have allergies, it just says, more of us are finding out the root causes of our illnesses may actually be allergic reactions that we've ignored for years then led to other illnesses. With the 10,000's of people who stay in touch weekly that have allergies (of many kinds), we hear so many stories, many of which have various other illnesses besides just allergies, that they've struggled with for years.

What's your theory? Share in comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Advertisement

Life

  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    Camera
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    Camera
    9 Photos