Increased Heart Disease Risk Tied to Food Allergy

An overlooked factor in heart disease, sensitivity to common food allergens like dairy and peanuts may elevate the risk of cardiovascular death, even in individuals without apparent allergies, a new study has said.

According to the study published in the journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, this increased risk may be comparable to — or even exceed — the risks posed by smoking, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Antibody Response to Common Foods

Researchers looked at thousands of adults over time and found that people who produced antibodies in response to dairy and other foods were at elevated risk of cardiovascular-related death. The strongest link was for cow’s milk, but other allergens such as peanuts and shrimp were also significant.

“What we looked at here was the presence of IgE antibodies to food that were detected in blood samples,” said researcher Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD, an allergy and immunology expert at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Approximately 15 per cent of adults produce IgE antibodies in response to cow’s milk, peanuts and other foods. While these antibodies cause some people to have severe food allergies, many adults who make these antibodies have no obvious food allergy, the study noted.

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Researchers also found that the strongest link with cardiovascular death was in people who had the antibodies but continued to consume the food regularly — suggesting they didn’t have a severe food allergy. To see if other food allergies could be affecting the heart, a team of researchers reviewed data collected from 5,374 participants.

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Additional analysis also identified peanut and shrimp sensitization as significant risk factors for cardiovascular death in those individuals who routinely ate them.

Source: IANS

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