Sunday, April 01, 2012

Here's My Theory on the Rise of Allergies. It won't surprise you.

"Allergic diseases have reached pandemic levels," begins David Artis's new paper in Nature Medicine. Artis goes on to say that, while everyone knows allergies are caused by a combination of factors involving both nature and nurture, that knowledge doesn't help us identify what is culpable—it is not at all clear exactly what is involved, or how the relevant players promote allergic responses.

There is some evidence that one of the causes lies within our guts. Epidemiological studies have linked changes in the species present in commensal bacteria—the trillions of microorganisms that reside in our colon—to the development of allergic diseases. (Typically, somewhere between 1,000 and 15,000 different bacterial species inhabit our guts.) And immunologists know that signaling molecules produced by some immune cells mediate allergic inflammation. 

Animal studies have provided the link between these two, showing that commensal bacteria promote allergic inflammation. But these researchers wanted to know more about how.

-from a post at ArsTechnica, to which Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit links.

My theory is that the high proportion of animal-based foods that we eat is a very significant contributor.  Compare the link at my "Pink Slime" post, which states that the meat "leavings" are handled by gut bacteria largely and not by digestion in the stomach.  Just connecting some dots here, and it may not mean anything.

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