Food Allergy and Intolerance: A Genetic Approach
Is heredity a factor in whether or not you are allergic to certain pollens or foods?
Individuals with genetically defined white blood cell patterns, known as the HLA DQ and DR genes, have been linked to an increased chance of developing allergies to pollen, dust, latex, or food. The most fascinating aspect of this tale is that knowing your HLA DR and DQ type can be beneficial when determining your risk for pollen allergies, as well as for food allergies or cross reactions that are connected with pollen allergies.
Food Reactions and Allergies: The Role of Genetics
I go into further depth in my articles on the genetics of gluten sensitivity, but the gist of it is that we all have proteins on the surface of our cells that are dictated by our genes. These patterns are easily visible by analyzing cells taken from the blood or from the mouth using a Q-tip type swab, which is a simple procedure. Specific patterns have been linked to an elevated risk for autoimmune diseases, gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease, among other illnesses.
Genetics of HLA DQ and Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity
It has been shown that HLA DQ2 is present in more than 90% of persons who have celiac disease, and that HLADQ8 is present in the majority of the remainder, however not all patients with celiac disease have been confirmed to have HLA DQ2 or DQ8.
What Are the Genetic Patterns DQ and DR That Are Associated with Food and Pollen Allergies or Sensitivities?
It has now been discovered that specific DQ or DR patterns are related with food and pollen allergies, among other things. As the Food Doc, I’m always looking for new material regarding genetic linkages to food allergy and intolerance in the literature, and I’m not stopping there. My research has brought me to a few of intriguing papers in the unique field of oral allergy syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading them (OAS). In fact, although the link between seasonal or perennial nasal allergy and food allergy is well documented, it is typically unknown to most clinicians and patients. In order to prevent getting hay fever or allergies, it appears that some of us must refrain from consuming specific foods, particularly during the hay fever season. This looks to be an issue that has been passed down through the generations.
Certain food and pollen allergies have been linked to genetics, according to new research.
In 1998, Boehncke and colleagues from the University of Frankfurt revealed that specific white blood cell types known as HLA class II genotypes or HLA DQ and DR genetic patterns were found to be more often in persons who had certain pollen-associated food allergies than in the general population. The HLA-DQB1*0301 gene is more prevalent in persons who are allergic to grass pollen. HLA-DRB1*08, a hereditary white blood cell protein pattern associated with grass pollen allergy, has been related to a six-fold higher risk of peanut allergy in those with the gene. Anyone with the HLA-DRB1*12 white blood cell pattern is 13 times more likely to develop a carrot allergy than the general population.
The most severe tree pollen allergy appears to be to birch tree pollen.
Hazel nut allergy caused by birch pollen is related with the HLA-DRB1*01, DQA1*0101, and DQB1*0501 alleles. The most frequent food allergies related with birch tree pollen include nut allergies to hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, and apples. In other research, allergies to certain foods have been found to be often linked with birch tree pollen.
Allergies to weeds are sometimes associated with food reactions.
It was discovered in 2004 by Wang et al. from China that the hereditary white blood cell type DQA1*0302 is found in greater numbers of persons who suffer from Artemisia pollen-induced allergic rhinitis, hay fever caused by Mugwort or Sagebrush weeds, and other allergic diseases. Mugwort allergy is linked with a number of food allergies, including those to apples, celery, hazelnuts, pistachios, lettuce, almonds, peanuts, carrots, and peanut butter.
Where Can I Go for Genetic Testing?
The entire HLA DQ typing service is provided by three commercial laboratories, as far as I am aware. Quest Laboratories, The Laboratory at Bonfils in Denver, and Enterolab are the companies in question. Bonfils is in charge of the Enterolab genetic testing. Enterolab provides the opportunity to have the test conducted on cells taken from a Q-tip swab of the mouth. The test may be acquired directly from Enterolab without the need for a doctor’s prescription, however it is not covered by health insurance plans. However, at $149, it is a fairly affordable price for a genetic testing procedure in comparison. Bonfils also does DQ typing on cells collected from blood samples that are supplied to them from other laboratories, according to the company.
Genetic Testing in Pollen and Food Allergies: What the Future Holds
In the future, such testing should prove to be extremely beneficial in screening potential food allergies, intolerances, and pollen allergies, to name a few conditions. In the meanwhile, those of us who are interested in this fascinating subject are eagerly awaiting further study discoveries in this intriguing field. Enterolab creator Dr. Fine has previously published the HLA DQ patterns related with microscopic colitis, which he developed while at Harvard Medical School. The alterations he has discovered at the microscopic level in the colon or large intestine are comparable, if not identical, to those that occur in the small intestine in celiac disease, according to him. Several studies have now demonstrated that a gluten-free diet is effective for many patients suffering with microscopic, lymphocytic, and collagenous colitis. It also has a positive effect on many people who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
The presence of intraepithelial lymphocytosis in the distal small intestine (terminal ileum) is related with a higher risk of celiac disease in the proximal small intestine (proximal small intestine). This is compounded by the publication of publications establishing links between specific hereditary white blood cell protein gene patterns and allergic cross responses to pollen and foods, which are well recognized but seldom explored therapeutically. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), commonly known as the “burning mouth syndrome,” affects a large number of people yet is often misdiagnosed or untreated. It is characterized by symptoms such as a burning, stinging and/or itchy feeling in the mouth or throat, as well as swelling, that appear nearly immediately after consuming specific foods. The foods that are producing these responses are frequently connected with allergies to pollen, latex, or dust.
Pollen allergies are associated with mouth burning or food reactions in an unusual way.
Despite the fact that this unique connection between tree, grass, and weed pollens, latex, and house dust mite allergies, and food responses has been well reported in the medical literature, it is not well recognized by clinicians or patients alike. Food allergy or intolerance responses that are related with particular pollen, dust, mold, or latex allergies have been reported in the OAS literature on a significant number of occasions. Ragweed pollen allergy is one of the most well-known instances. A greater incidence of food allergy or intolerance to only a small number of foods is related with this condition. Cucumbers, melons, and other members of the gourd family, as well as bananas, fall under this category. Birch tree pollen allergy, on the other hand, is connected with sensitivity to a wide variety of foods. The list contains items from the Rosacea family (apples and pears), the tree nut family (hazelnut, almond, and walnut), potatoes, and carrots, among other things. Classic allergic reactions such as skin rashes (atopic dermatitis, hives), wheezing (asthma), and a runny nose (allergic rhinitis) are present, as are the burning mouth OAS symptoms and other food intolerance symptoms as well.
If you suspect that you have a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, consult with a medical professional.
It is recommended that those who suspect food allergy or intolerance examine the food-pollen relationship and undertake proper examinations for food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity before proceeding with treatment. Food sensitivity encompasses gluten sensitivity as well as sensitivity to the casein protein found in cow’s milk. Lactose intolerance is one of the types of food intolerance. Food allergies are distinct from either food sensitivity or food intolerance, and should not be confused with either.
Consider obtaining genetic testing or requesting that your doctor perform genetic testing on you.
This new knowledge concerning the relationship between white blood cell protein patterns, also known as HLA DQ types, recommends that we should consider having genetic testing performed. Following a thorough investigation,
Establish a baseline symptom score and begin a food symptom diet diary to track your progress.
In order to create a baseline symptom score, I advise everyone to do so. Before embarking on an exclusion diet trial, it is highly beneficial to keep a comprehensive food symptom journal. When it comes to IBS, fibromyalgia, unexplained neuropathy or headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other conditions, an elimination diet that excludes major food lectins (dairy, grain, legumes, and nightshades) as well as any foods from the pollen list to which one is allergic is recommended before accepting a diagnosis of the condition. Until proven otherwise, any symptoms that are not easily explained or alleviated with other diagnosis and treatments should be regarded probably related to a food response.