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Vaccination and the Growing Rates of Childhood Food Allergies

girl holding peanutStory Highlights

  • The rate of childhood food allergies has been increasing for many years.
  • Researchers do not know what is causing children to develop food allergies.
  • Several theories are used to explain why food allergies are on the rise, however; the impact of vaccination has not been studied thoroughly.

We all know of someone that has a food allergy because it has become such a common condition that people suffer from, particularly children. According to the non-profit organization Food Allergy Research and Education, researchers estimate that 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Approximately 9 million adults and 6 million children have food allergies.1 These figures highlight that food allergies are a growing public health concern.

Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise

A survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics highlights that prevalence of food allergies among children aged 0-17 years old increased from 3.4 percent in 1997-2011 to 5.1 percent in 2009-2011.2 Food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory care visits a year among children under the age of 18.1 4 In fact, food allergies are the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.1

Findings from a 2013 survey published in JAMA Pediatrics found that childhood food allergies result in significant direct medical costs for the U.S health care system and even larger costs for families with a child that suffers from it.3 The overall economic cost of childhood food allergies was estimated to be $24.8 billion per year. Direct medical costs amounted to $4.3 billion, costs incurred by the family totaled $20.5 billion and lost labor productivity costs totaled $0.77 billion annually.3

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eight foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean shellfish and milk.1 4 5 Research has also shown that children with food allergies are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma than their counterparts.2

No Known Cause

The rising rate of food allergies among children has become a very serious health problem; however, researchers do not have a clear scientific answer on the cause of food allergies.6 This seems to be the case with many chronic health problems that are prevalent  today, such as asthma and Alzheimer’s, where researchers have been unable to identify a cause. Health conditions with no known cause are referred to as idiopathic.7

There are a few of theories about the potential causes of food allergies. The most popular theory is the “hygiene hypothesis”.8 This theory suggests that changes in lifestyle in industrialized countries has led to a decrease in infectious diseases but has resulted in an increase in allergic and autoimmune diseases.8 In this case, changes in lifestyle refer to an environment that is “too clean” to effectively stimulate or challenge a child’s immune system, and this has resulted in immune system dysfunction that includes an increase in food allergies.8

A second theory is based on the fact that there is an increase in Caesarean section births.9 Children born by C-section births do not have the opportunity to acquire the intergenerational transfer of the microbiome from the mother to the child that usually occurs during vaginal birth.9 This transfer of gut bacteria is intended to help the baby build a strong immune system from the time of birth; however, C-sections skip this stage leaving children to be more vulnerable to infections and immune related disorders.9

Cathryn Nagler PhD, a food allergy professor at the University of Chicago discusses her research on the cause of food allergies and states:

Environmental stimuli such as antibiotic overuse, high fat diets, caesarean birth, removal of common pathogens and even formula feeding have affected the microbiota with which we’ve co-evolved. Our results suggest this could contribute to the increasing susceptibility to food allergies.10

Food Allergy Research Excludes Vaccination as a Contributing Factor

Interestingly, current research on the cause of food allergies does not consider vaccination as a contributing factor. However, in the past, there have been studies demonstrating an association between vaccine ingredients and development of food allergies. In 1908, a study showed that injecting as little as 50ng of ovalbumin (a protein found in egg whites) into guinea pigs resulted in their immune system developing a sensitization to ovalbumin. Additional injections of ovalbumin led to an allergic reaction.11 12

In 1952, another study found the possibility of sensitization to eggs following the administration of the influenza vaccine that are manufactured using chicken eggs.12 13 In 1999, a study found evidence of a casual relationship between the pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine (DTaP) vaccine and the development of a gelatin allergy.12 14

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appointed the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to provide a review of medical and scientific evidence on the adverse effects of vaccines. The 2011 IOM report does affirm that vaccine ingredients do indeed lead to the development of allergies.15 The report states:

Adverse events on our list thought to be due to IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions Antigens in the vaccines that the committee is charged with reviewing do not typically elicit an immediate hypersensitivity reaction (e.g., hepatitis B surface antigen, toxoids, gelatin, ovalbumin, casamino acids). However, as will be discussed in subsequent chapters, the above-mentioned antigens do occasionally induce IgE-mediated sensitization in some individuals and subsequent hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis.15

The effect of vaccine adjuvants and multiple simultaneous vaccinations also contributes to the development of food allergies. A report published in the Journal of Developing Drugs explains:

Pertussis toxin and aluminum compounds act as adjuvants. These adjuvants are known to bias for IgE synthesis. Injecting food proteins along with these adjuvants increases the immunogenicity of the food proteins that are present in the vaccines. With up to five shots administered simultaneously, numerous food proteins and adjuvants get injected at one time. This increases the probability of sensitization.12

Current research and discussion on the cause of food allergies has not addressed the effects of vaccines. This is an important area of research to pursue, given that the number of vaccines recommended in the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule has doubled since 1983.

The popular assumption that “vaccines are good” is more than likely the reason why vaccination is not considered to be a factor when examining in the cause of food allergies. It is crucial for public health agencies and officials to explore this angle and focus efforts on understanding the impact of vaccination on the development of childhood food allergies among other health conditions before it’s too late.


References:

1 Food Allergy Research and Education. Facts and Statistics. FoodAllergy.org.
2 Jackson KD, Howie LD, Akinbami LJ. Trends in allergic conditions among children: United States, 1997–2011. NCHS data brief, No. 121 National Center for Health Statistics 2013.
3 Gupta RHoldford DBilaver LDyer AHoll JLMeltzer D. The economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatrics 2013; 167(11): 1083.
4 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. FDA.gov Nov. 11, 2016.
5 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Overview. Acaai.org.
6 Best Food Facts. Why Has There Been An Increase in Food Allergies? BestFoodFacts.org June 29, 2015.
7 The Free Medical Dictionary. Idiopathic. The Free Dictionary.
8 Davis C. The Hygiene Hypothesis. MedicineNet.com.
9 Parpia R. C-Section Births Rising in the U.S. The Vaccine Reaction Nov. 27, 2016.
10 Food Allergy Research & Education. Gut Bacteria that Protect Against Food Allergies Identified. FoodAllergy.org Aug. 25, 2014.
11 Wells G. Studies on the Chemistry of Anaphylaxis. Journal of Infectious Diseases 1908; 5(4): 449-483.
12 Arumugham V. Evidence that Food Proteins in Vaccines Cause the Development of Food Allergies and Its Implications for Vaccine Policy. Journal of Developing Drugs 2015; 4:4.
13 Ratner B, Untracht S, Hetzmark F. Allergy to Viral and Rickettsial Vaccines — Influence of Repeated Inoculations on the Acquisition of Egg Allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 246: 533-536.
14 Nakayama T, Aizawa C, Kuno-Sakai H. A clinical analysis of gelatin allergy and determination of its causal relationship to the previous administration of gelatin-containing acellular pertussis vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1999; 103 (2 Pt 1): 321-325.
15 The Institute of Medicine. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Washington, DC The National Academies Press.

9 Responses to Vaccination and the Growing Rates of Childhood Food Allergies

  1. RICHARD L. BRANDON, MD Reply

    April 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Studies show that countries/communities with zero/little vaccination rates rarely have children with asthma and allergies in general.

  2. Colorado Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    The known cause; Watch the documentary video; Genetic Roulette. I keep telling the anti vaxxers, the vaccines are only half the equation. The real danger is with synergystic relationships to toxins you get from pesticide and chemical laden foods, as well as genetic sharing of dangerous molecules, from gmo foods. Think sudden transmutagenic chain reactions in your own body. (forgive me if that’s not accurate, IGE mediated hypersensitivity is a new concept to me.) The indicator is the bowels, that’s where it all begins and ends for human health. That being said, it’s good for kids to play in the dirt, it does boost their immune systems. More importantly though, don’t let them eat sugar more than once a week. Never let them eat gmo foods daily. Find a way to avoid vaccinations. Our kids are just fine, no allergies at all. We fed them drops of honey and pb at 6m to make sure they had full spectrum digestion. And we went with uber expensive organic formula. We got them into adult vegetables at the earliest possible stages and skipped all that custom babies and toddler food. Rule of thumb for parents; Eat it yourself at dinner. You’ll find most of the kid foods are crap, regardless of safe labeling. If you can’t swallow it, neither should your kids. Our little girls were eating big broccoli chunks and carrots bigger than they were at 1 years age. And they loved it. Much cheaper than designer baby foods. I love the vaccine reaction but I cannot share these articles with many people, especially strangers. What would you charge me for a paper printed monthly I could ‘accidentally’ leave at the doctors office? I’ll certainly pay for that please.

  3. JCLincoln Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 4:08 am

    They’re attacking our children and feeding on ignorance.
    May they all die the death of deaths.

  4. Barb Reply

    April 9, 2017 at 6:21 am

    It has been known for over a century that injections of food protein along with an aluminum adjuvant directly cause food allergies. Some of the food allergy connection and vaccines is quite obvious. The DPT has bovine serem and casein and cow’s milk allergy often occurs following the injection. Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7) has soy in it and soy allergy often follows that vaccine. Less obvious are other food allergies. It is only the final culture medium that is listed on the package insert. Food waste is used for previous culture mediums. It is ASSUMED that there is not enough food protein remaining to cause a problem. If you read patents for culture mediums used in vaccine production, you will find every food known to man listed. If you read patents for vaccine adjuvants and carriers, you will find every food oil known to man listed. A careful reading of FDA regulations explains what is happening with food oils and vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies can “self-affirm GRAS” ingredients. Food oils are GRAS. Self-affirmed GRAS ingredients – nothing is submitted to the government. The FDA has no idea what ingredients have been “self affirmed” to be generally recognized as safe. The oils become protected trade secrets.

    • Colorado Reply

      April 10, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Oh goodness! You’re so well informed. On the food consumption front, oils fraud is a big deal lately. Olive oils are especially highlighted, since that’s the mainstay alternative to the dangerous soy and vegetable oils out there, usually chemical laden. And we know how good these corporations are at self policing…. They always correct the problem with product integrity, usually 10 to 100 years after dedicated activists expose their product lies. Corporations do not successfully police themselves, end of story. Next time I’m getting pressured by the endless line of for sale zombie doctors, whose primary purpose is to pimp me pharma drugs, I’ll demand an ‘organic vaccine’. It’s just natural logic. I’ll tell them I’m a vegetarian and organic eater. I’ll demand to know everything about anything that goes into my body, before it goes into my body. Oh I see here, animal product, and this oil type which is animal fat based, no go, have anything else instead? As a consumer, I demand choices. The consumer is always right, never forget that.

  5. Maria Reply

    April 9, 2017 at 6:18 am

    The article doesn’t mention the increasing use of GMO’s in the food supply, their contribution to leaky gut and glyphosate residues being detected in vaccines. Peanut oil and eggs are being used in the manufacture of vaccines which can eventually cause an antibody response to these foods.

  6. Bob Reply

    April 9, 2017 at 5:37 am

    I am wondering, what if the child has “leaky gut syndrome” caused by among other things, glyphosate in the food supply? Glyphosate is known to damage the gut flora, leading to leaky gut, which in turn, allows undigested food proteins into the bloodstream. If a vaccine is received during the period that these proteins are in the bloodstream, they act as another adjuvant and the body develops antibodies against them.

  7. John Reply

    April 9, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Perhaps the food allergy problems are linked more to the genetic engineering of our food. I have a young son with celiac disease, alopecia, and thyroid issues. He has never been vaccinated and he had a natural child birth. I am a non vaccinator but I don’t think that the vaccines are the whole issue. There is so much propaganda on all sides that it is impossible to make a clear argument for or against. My reasons for not vaccinating my child were from both a medical standpoint and a biblical one. We should be looking at the whole picture rather than focusing on the vaccines. I imagine that there is much money to be had by taking the anti stance and promoting a biased view. Until someone decides to take a truly unbiased view we will have to rely upon our gut as parents to do what is best for our children.

  8. Jack Hepler Reply

    April 8, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Nice article. The biggest thing besides vaccinations that is being overlooked is pesticides. Thdy have proven to cause
    numerous health issues including cancer. Their use is at the highest all time and the foods listed above as having most allergies from are saturated with pesticides from seed. In addition to be finished after harvest with even more. It can’t be washed off since being in the soil,water and the additional spraying becomes part of the plants can. So anyone not eating organically are consuming these pesticides in everything they eat. The animals are also fed food which has been saturated in pesticides and usually him. Again becoming part of the animals dna.
    They disrupt the endocrine system , weaken the immune system, contaminates the liver and creates difficulty with the kidneys what can be excreted. Heavy metals in those pesticides stay in the body as it cannot pass them.
    They don’t want to tell the truth that yes vaccines and especially the toxic ingredients and pesticides are the biggest threat to human health of all ages.
    Everyone needs to avoid at all costs.

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