Allergies & Science
Last Updated: 10th November 2022 · Written by Donna Mastriani
Here at Lifelab we’re passionate about understanding the emerging science behind allergies and intolerances. We spend a lot of time developing our products using cutting edge science and also in providing aftercare to help you manage the allergies you discover.
We also like to help educate people on allergies and the science behind them, here we take a look at allergies and where our understanding is at.
WHAT IS AN ALLERGY AND WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS?
Food allergies have become a significant health burden as prevalence continues to rise, affecting 6%-13% of the global population.
When talking about Allergies, we are referring to the reaction that is caused when a person’s immune system is fighting what it perceives to be harmful substances (allergens) in the body.
The allergic reaction occurs when hypersensitivity to certain substances (food, medications, or environmental allergens) is expressed within the body. An allergic reaction is classified as type I hypersensitivity, meaning that symptoms will occur immediately after the administration of the harmful allergen or within a few minutes.
Our body is a powerful machine, and our immune system plays an essential role in defending the body from harmful substances.
Some allergens are recognised as harmful from our immune system, and the immediate reaction is to find a way to eliminate those substances. The elimination of those harmful substances in allergic subjects will activate a specific reaction that in some people can be life-threatening (anaphylactic reaction: swelling, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and changes in heart rate).
Allergic symptoms are varied. Depending on the allergen, the type of allergic reaction (type I, type III) and the person’s immune system, different reactions can be observed. The hypersensitivity type I is associated with immediate allergic reaction with potential to activate an anaphylactic reaction. In contrast, hypersensitivity type III is associated with an accumulation of allergens in the systems with a delate allergy reaction that can be observed within 24 and 72hours after the administration of the harmful allergen.
Some common symptoms are itchiness, running nose, swollen and watery eyes, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
During the last two decades, (as reported by Vanhita Sampath et al. (1) in the Journal of Allergy 2019) there has been an increased understanding of the mechanisms underlying food allergy and new treatments have been developed. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Allergen ImmunoTherapy (AIT) for several allergens. Safety is the biggest concern for AIT, and risk of allergic reactions may potentially be lowered with lower allergen maintenance dose, and use of adjuvants (biologics such as omalizumab, modified aluminium hydroxide adsorbed allergens, or probiotics).
At the current time, there are no known biomarkers to distinguish the temporary state of desensitisation from that of permanent tolerance as seen in natural nonallergenic individuals nor are there prognostic markers to determine who would best benefit from therapy. Such diagnostic and prognostic marker would be valuable tools for food allergy research (Vanhita Sampath et al.)
Recently another article from Kunal Pratap et al. (2) in the journal of Frontiers in Immunology in May 2020 highlighted the possibility to use a combination of probiotics and allergen immunotherapy as a treatment for food allergies:
“A combinatorial approach using probiotics and oral peanut immunotherapy has successfully demonstrated long-lasting clinical effects and suppression of allergic responses. Such innovative strategies combining allergen-specific immunotherapy with natural bioactive compounds into a suitable dosage regimen may hold the potential to have a safe and effective treatment strategy for food allergies (Kunal Pratap et al.).
Scientific advancement in the field of food allergy in the last couple of years as demonstrated as a combination of allergen immunotherapy and bioactive compounds (probiotics) could be a possible solution in the treatment of food allergies.
Unfortunately, at the moment we do not have a treatment for food allergies, but we are confident that continuing our work to inform you with up to date scientific research and our high-quality testing we can help you to take the first step to improve your health and wellbeing.
This is only the first step on your journey, and we are here to help you, so if you have any questions and you are curious to know how we can help do not hesitate to contact us.
(1)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/all.14116 (Vanhita Sampath et al.) Can allergy be cured?
(2)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.00996/full (Kunal Pratap et al.) Natural Bioactive compounds and probiotics as potential therapeutic in food allergies