October 2016 Food Allergy Research Roundup


In the world of food allergy research, there is always something new and interesting going on, and this month is no exception. See what’s going on this month, and check back next month to find out what else researchers are up to relating to food allergies and celiac disease.


Promise for Treating Celiac Disease from Common Bacteria

For people with celiac disease, the main treatment choice up to now has been adhering to a strict gluten-free diet. A research team at Boston University’s Henry M. Golden School of Dental Medicine has isolated an enzyme present in bacteria found in saliva. These researchers have found that bacteria in the mouth are associated with enzymes that degrade gluten and these enzymes have potential as therapy for celiac disease.


A Common Additive May Be Linked to A Rise in Food Allergies

A Michigan State researcher has been studying the link between food allergies and a common food additive for the last nine years.  Cheryl Rockwell has received an award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to continue her work on the synthetic food additive tert-butylhydroquinone, or tBHQ. This is a preservative which is in many foods such as nuts, breads, crackers and cooking oil. Her research has shown that this preservative causes T cells, part of the body’s immune system, to release proteins that can trigger allergies.  She is continuing to research why T cells are behaving this way.


Seaweed Could Help Fight Food Allergies

Recent research on mice appears to indicate that a type of commercial red seaweed may help fight food allergies. Previous research has suggested that some varieties of seaweed contain polysaccharides that have anti-allergy effects. In this recent research, polysaccharides were isolated from Gracilaria lemaneiformis, which is a commercial variety of red algae and fed to a group of allergic mice while another group of allergic mice didn’t get the polysaccharides. Allergy symptoms were reduced in the treated mice. Further research is needed in this area.


Children with Food Allergies May Be Able to Be Near Allergy Triggers

Kids who have severe food allergies may be nervous being around others who are consuming food allergy triggers such as peanuts or peanut butter.  According to an article in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

it may be possible to be in close proximity to food allergy triggers without fear. Most of the time severe reactions only happen when the substance is ingested or placed on the skin. Talk to your allergist about a proximity food challenge to see if your child can tolerate being in close proximity to food allergens. It may help ease your child’s anxiety about having to eat at a separate table in order to avoid being around allergens.


Microbiome and Metronome Study for Celiac Disease

A group of doctors and scientists have created the CDGEMM study in order to learn more about factors that cause celiac disease. Infants who have not been introduced to solid foods who have a first-degree relative with celiac disease are eligible for this study and can even be enrolled before birth. A first-degree relative is mother, father, sister or brother. Visits can be done at your own pediatrician’s office.