Food allergy is the abnormal response of the body’s immune system to food. Although it is most common in childhood, it can be seen at almost any age. What do we know about foods that cause food allergies in adults? Does it happen for reasons other than food allergies in children? Or is it the same? Everyone is curious about the answers to these questions. We have written for you the causes of food allergy seen in adults.

Causes of Food Allergy in Adults

75% of adults self-reported food allergy reported a reaction to at least one of the 8 major food allergens. These allergens include dairy, wheat, egg, soy (most commonly seen in children), peanuts, nuts, fish and shellfish.

Most Common Causes of Food Allergies in Adults

Milk was the most commonly reported allergen in 4.1% of adults, followed by shellfish reported in 3.6% of adults.

Another national study based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2007-2010 reported that dairy and shellfish were the most common allergens in adults.

Other common allergens reported among adults are peanuts and hazelnuts, and together they account for about 25% of cases. Most cases of allergies to these peanuts and hazelnuts begin in childhood.

In addition to the 8 major food allergens, fruits and vegetables represent the largest food group reported to cause reactions, with 2.7% of adults in the United States reporting that they react to this major food group.

Reported reactions to raw fruits and vegetables may be due to another type of food allergy known as pollen food allergy syndrome, resulting in limited symptoms in the mouth and lips, such as itching or swelling of the lips. Pollen food allergy syndrome occurs in patients who cross-react with pollen or airborne allergens and first develop a sensitivity to pollen.

Awareness in Food Reactions

As the frequency of food allergies increases, awareness needs to be increased. Most childcare facilities and schools develop preventive policies and programs to provide a safe environment for young children with food allergies, such as a separate desk and self-administration of injectable epinephrine. In this case, public awareness is needed to protect adults as well.

Properly labeling food with all hidden ingredients and maintaining a detailed list of ingredients in all food services and restaurants can prevent accidental exposure and reactions. One large study reported that 8.4% of food allergy-related reactions in adults were treated with intramuscular epinephrine in an emergency. In the same survey, 34% of adult self-reported food allergies went more than 5 years without a food allergy-related reaction. A study investigating emergency room trends associated with food allergy reported a decrease in the frequency of food allergy-related emergency room visits among US adults from 2001 to 2009. The relatively long time without any reaction reported in one study, as well as the reduced number of food allergy-related emergency room visits, suggest a possible shift towards better prevention of reactions in adults with food allergies.

What are the risk factors for food allergy in adults?

There are many studies that there are some risk factors for the emergence of food allergy. The most emphasized among these are:

  • Gender; It is more common in boys, especially in childhood.
  • Race/ethnicity; Compared with white children, the increasesis notable among Asian and black children.
  • It is more common in people with food allergies in the genetic structure family.
  • Food allergy can be seen in later years in people with atopic allergies. People with allergic asthma, especially those with severe asthma, have more severe food allergy reactions.
  • Vitamin D insufficiency has been emphasized more and more in recent years. There are various studies that show that food allergy is more common in vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D has protective properties against food allergies.
  • Fatty acids in the foods we consume (decreased consumption of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids),
  • Decreased consumption of antioxidants
  • The use of stomach acid-reducing drugs (reducing the digestion of allergens),
  • Obesity.
  • Like all allergic diseases, the risk of food allergy is higher in those who grow up in a hygienic environment.
  • The timing and route of exposure to foods are among the important risk factors.

As a result;

  • The most common causes of food allergies in adults are milk, wheat, egg, soy (most commonly seen in children), peanuts, hazelnuts, fish and shellfish.
  • As the frequency of food allergies increases, awareness should also increase.
  • In addition to the 8 major food allergens in adults, fruits and vegetables represent the largest food group reported to cause reactions.
  • Food allergy in adults has many risk factors. There are risk factors such as obesity, vitamin D deficiency, low consumption of antioxidants, and the use of drugs that reduce stomach acid.