Sesame Allergy More Prevalent Than Previously Believed

August 12th, 2019

By Nikki Harper

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

New research out this week has found that sesame allergy is likely to be more prevalent than previously thought, with some 1.5 million children and adults in the US likely to be affected – around 0.49% of the population [1]. This compares to the previous estimates of 0.23% of the population.

The new research, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine coincides with, but was not in response to, the FDA’s request for sesame allergy data, which began in late 2018. Northwestern’s analysis actually comes from food allergy data collected in 2015 and 2016; having heard more and more anecdotal evidence of sesame allergies, researchers went back to the original data specifically to investigate sesame.

In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, the law requires sesame to be clearly identified as an ingredient. In the US, however, the FDA requires only the “big eight” allergens to be explicitly labeled: peanut, shellfish, milk, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fin fish and egg. Northwestern’s data suggests that some mandated allergies, such as to macadamia nuts or pine nuts, affect fewer people than sesame allergy. The new study suggests 75% of sesame-allergic respondents also have an allergy to one more of the big eight, highlighting that sesame allergy commonly co-occurs with other allergies and with asthma. One in three sesame allergy sufferers had experienced a “severe” reaction to the food.

According to Carla Davis, Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program, “Right now, labeling laws allow patients with milk or peanut allergies to avoid foods pretty easily,” she says, “but for a patient with a sesame allergy, I have a very long list of words that mean sesame is in the food, and they have to look at the full ingredients.” [3]

There is no current cure for food allergies, but studies have shown that traditional Chinese herbal medicine can be effective in preventing even serious food-induced anaphylaxis. [6] For mild allergies, sensible precautions can be taken to avoid the allergic reaction on the first place. [5]

Across the developed world, food allergies – particularly in children – are on the rise. [2] Some theories suggest that this may be due to children’s immune systems being overwhelmed by vaccinations and toxic medications [4] while other research suggests an environmental link, the so-called ‘hygiene hypothesis’, although this is more closely linked to seasonal allergies and asthma than to food allergies.

One thing is for certain: there is now a far greater prevalence of all kinds of food allergies than there used to be. There must be a reason for that, and with food allergies both causing personal misery and costing millions in healthcare, further research is urgently needed.

Article sources:

About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and current editor for Wake Up World.

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