home
RSS
Do allergies actually benefit your health?
April 25th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Do allergies actually benefit your health?

Depending on severity, allergies can range from annoying to deadly. Millions of Americans are familiar with the sneezing, itching and coughing that come along with spring allergies to toxins, while others suffer hives or even airway blockage if they eat the wrong food.

And we know that food allergies are on the rise, partly because of awareness but experts say something else may be going on. It’s a mystery why industrial countries see more and more children having reactions to common foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat or soy.

But there’s a deeper question to ask here: Why do humans have allergies at all?

One view is that the immune response seen in allergies is the same sort of defense your body uses against parasitic worms. It’s thought that what we know as “allergy” evolved against those worms, but has become mistargeted in some people, so that common substances such as pollen and dust set them off, too.

However, common environmental and food allergens have little in common with parasitic worms. There’s an explanation for why the immune system would respond to something that's not microbial, says Ruslan Medzhitov, professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine.

In a perspective article in the journal Nature, Medzhitov and colleagues probe the question: Is there another explanation for allergies? They argue that, in fact, allergies are meant to remove harmful substances from the body.

For the case of seasonal allergies to tree or grass pollen, symptoms typically include runny nose, teary eyes and extra mucus production in the respiratory system. All of these things have the effect of trying to expel something from your body that you don’t want there.

Similarly, when you have itchy skin in contact allergies, the impulse is to scratch, which has the effect of removing offending particles in the skin. But sometimes it becomes extreme: Uncontrollable itching that’s chronic, which is no longer serve the purpose of taking offending substances off the skin.

Food allergy symptoms often include vomiting and diarrhea, which also expel unwanted substances. Anaphylactic shock, the most severe and deadly reaction, involves swelling of the mouth or throat and even breathing problems. Medzhitov explains this as an extreme form of the normal allergic reaction; it has gone out of control and may cause death in and of itself, the way that septic shock is an extreme form of natural inflammation.

Experimental treatment may help food allergies

“There are things that are meant to perform some beneficial rational function; if they get disregulated, it can cause problem,” Medzhitov said.

The unpleasant experiences also make you stop eating the food that caused the reaction, and avoid that food in the future.

But wait: Plenty of people eat peanuts and other common food allergens without incident. Why do some people have extreme reactions and others enjoy these foods in peace?

Medzhitov points out that there are certain components of the foods we eat everyday whose effects on the body we still don’t exactly know. There may be certain chemicals in some foods that have noxious effects on our cells that are slightly toxic.

He hypothesizes that some people are better at detoxifying those substances than others. And those who are deficient in those detoxifying mechanisms have instead allergies to defend themselves.

And then there’s allergies to pollutants in the air. The production of mucus in allergic people, theoretically, gives them increased protection from the particulate pollutants in the air, since they will inhale less of them. That would mean that if those pollutants are carcinogenic, the allergic person would have increased protection against certain forms of cancer over time. Or you might avoid that environment altogether, thereby also taking you out of a toxic situation.

The hypothesis that allergies protect against particular cancers does have some evidence backing it up. In fact, a 2011 study suggested that allergies may stave off gliomas, which are the most common form of brain tumor. But more research needs to be carried out to back up this idea.

So what are we to make of all of this? Even if true, we can't use this knowledge to help people with allergies - yet.  But maybe one day, says Dr. Robert Wood, Director of Allergy/Immunology at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, who was not involved in this study.

"“This is a fascinating paper that sheds new light on why some people develop allergies and others do not. It also suggests reasons why the prevalence of allergic disease, including food allergy, asthma, and hay fever, have all increased over the past 20-30 years," Wood said. "Hopefully the theories presented here could eventually be used to design prevention strategies for allergy, but at the present time they remain just theories that will not lead to any immediate approaches to treat or prevent allergy.”


soundoff (954 Responses)
  1. Social Media Marketing La Habra

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.

    http://www.ctconnect.co.il/site/lang/?lang=en&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Digital Marketing Event Near Me

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don't manage to get anything done.

    https://netexchange.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=masternearme.com

    May 11, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. trailer repair near me

    http://texasbedandbreakfast-com.securec55.ezhostingserver.com/hit.cfm?InnID=1&website=https://ocrv.biz/freightliner-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Panels

    https://bibliopam.ec-lyon.fr/fork?https://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/chevrolet-cargo-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. LbsoZisse

    cialis bestellen deutschland http://ucialisdas.com/ – cialis for sale in canada cialis windsor canada pharmacy

    May 11, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ibs collision center

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    http://cross-a.net/go_out.php?url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=gN9pJJv9kYQ

    May 11, 2021 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Bathroom Riverside

    I was able to find good info from your articles.

    https://mycompass.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. rv repair in riverside ca

    http://www.cssdrive.com/?URL=ocrvcenter.net/rv-repair-shop-huntington-park-california

    May 12, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Maintenance Los Angeles

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.

    http://limeactuarial.com.au/redirect/http://youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv park orange county ca

    Hello, I think your website may be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic blog!

    https://analytics.bluekai.com/site/16231?phint=event=click&phint=campaign=BRAND-TAB&phint=platform=search&done=https://ocrv.xyz/geico-rv-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. oc rv storage

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    https://kz.all.biz/goto.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.co/commercial-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 12, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    https://www.zlatestranky.cz/Cookies/Disagree?returnUrl=https://ocrvfleetservices.com/sprinter-van-dent-repair-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. GtnbCrulk

    who makes viagra http://jokviagra.com/ viagra how it works

    May 12, 2021 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Dent Repair California

    Your style is unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

    http://www.whatsappfrees.com.xx3.kz/go.php?url=http://www.yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-yorba-linda-2

    May 12, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rv washing near me

    bookmarked!!, I love your blog!

    https://domaindirectory.com/servicepage/?domain=ocrv.info/nexus-rv-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 12, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. good sam rv repair

    I was able to find good information from your articles.

    https://eao.rtrs.ru/go/?q=https://ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-santa-monica-california

    May 12, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. body repair near me

    bookmarked!!, I like your website!

    https://beesign.com/webdesign/extern.php?homepage=ocrv.biz/rv-repair-shop-escondido-california

    May 12, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles

    http://www.2nd-lab.jp/?wptouch_switch=mobile&redirect=http3A2F2Fyelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-anaheim-4

    May 12, 2021 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. orange coast trailer supply

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    https://www.kwconnect.com/redirect?url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=BCzelGN1dAA

    May 12, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. chassis repair shop near me

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…

    https://www.sfwater.org/redirect.aspx?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=0eb9oP6XDs0

    May 12, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rv parts in san diego

    https://www.bookforum.com/ads/www/delivery/ck.php?ct=1&oaparams=2__bannerid=967__zoneid=1__source=ad__cb=01bb4cc389__oadest=https://youtube.com/watch?v=y_iH4adk40U

    May 12, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RebfZisse

    viagra vs cialis forum https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis online american express

    May 12, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. truck shop in orange

    https://press.husqvarna-motorcycles.com/Mailing_Redirect.aspx?mailingid=37014&email=tomwebb@me.com&checkid=3ce553ad-a4c8-4cff-8157-9d296087b89f&redirect=https://ocrv.mobi/rv-repair-shop-kagel-canyon-california

    May 12, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. auto body paint shops near me

    This website definitely has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    https://svc.tds-live.com/manager/siteuser/redirector?ec=09/02/2017-Dreamon,faivolareituoisogniall’Isolad’Elba!&url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=jzoZjv4vlJQ

    May 13, 2021 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Furniture California

    Very good info. Lucky me I found your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!

    http://www.fbinsurance.info/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=youtube.com/channel/UChUH5GdtSzHx6V02C90mnfQ/videos

    May 13, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. awning repair near me

    There's definately a lot to know about this topic. I really like all of the points you have made.

    https://www.attaka.or.jp/cgi-bin/click3/click3.cgi?cnt=05&url=https://ocrv.vip/motorhome-step-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv repair service near me

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thank you!

    http://kebrt.webz.cz/download.php?url=https://ocrv.club/playstar-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 13, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    I used to be able to find good information from your content.

    http://www.xiguaji.com/service/link/?url=https://fleetrepairshops.com/luxury-van-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JebgEncox

    internet pharmacy mexico https://pharmacylo.com/ erectile dysfunction treatment

    May 13, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Body Shop Los Angeles

    https://www.empiretrailer.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=youtube.com/channel/UChUH5GdtSzHx6V02C90mnfQ/videos

    May 13, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. temecula tv repair

    http://testphp.vulnweb.com/redir.php?r=https://ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-repair-shop-huntington-park-california

    May 13, 2021 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. movies stores near me

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I genuinely thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://wad.ojooo.com/cks_preview.php?lang=en&url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=NpiG–IK2-E

    May 13, 2021 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. LebnEncox

    tadalafil https://xlnpharmacy.com/ meds online without doctor prescription

    May 13, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. stornobrzinol

    I think this internet site has some rattling great information for everyone :D. "We rarely think people have good sense unless they agree with us." by Francois de La Rochefoucauld.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 13, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. maintenance shops near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else having the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/androgenetic-alopecia/?showmore=1&returnlink=https://ocrv.rocks/delivery-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv collision repair near me

    http://nudewwedivas.forumcommunity.net/m/ext.php?url=https://ocrv.us/heavy-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. interstate collision center

    I truly love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my very own site and would love to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Cheers!

    http://oraung02.iamgold.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.vip/airport-bus-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. exrznBPWam

    disadvantages of doing homework essay help introduction air charter service business plan rewriting service

    May 13, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Supplies Orange County

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!

    http://www.buddssaab.ca/wp-content/plugins/wp-js-external-link-info/redirect.php?blog=Budds20Oakville&url=http://yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-yorba-linda

    May 13, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. motorhome body shop

    &mid=872

    May 13, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FmrfEncox

    cialis us pharmacy http://cialisee.com/ buy cialis without prescription

    May 13, 2021 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. orange county truck service

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your website.

    https://r.turn.com/r/click?id=07SbPf7hZSNdJAgAAAYBAA&url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=6Ge-j8Lgn_w

    May 14, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mb Sprinter Blind Spot Detection Repair

    Good article. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..

    https://www.morhipo.com/shared/partnercookie?k=gort&url=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/mercedes-luxury-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Technician Near Me

    I used to be able to find good advice from your content.

    http://diamondrealtysbc.com/frame.asp?frameurl=http://g.page/OCRVFleetServices

    May 14, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Valve Body Repair

    http://tools.folha.com.br/print?url=https://commercialvanrepairshop.com/truck-repair-shop-near-me-3

    May 14, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Mercedes Benz Dealer Service Sprinter Near Me 91605

    You've made some decent points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

    http://m.caijing.com.cn/member/logout?referer=https://fleetrepairshops.com/sprinter-van-technician-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Chevy Express Van Repair

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never manage to get anything done.

    http://2ch-ranking.net/redirect.php?url=https://ocrvfleetservices.com/gmc-high-top-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Fiberglass Riverside

    http://procobremexico.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-yorba-linda

    May 14, 2021 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. AnooEncox

    kadД±nlar iГ§in bitkisel viagra https://llviagra.com/ – viagra 22 year old cГЎch dГ№ng thuб»‘c viagra

    May 14, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Windows Riverside

    http://www.westextelecom.cc/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-yorba-linda

    May 14, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to LbsoZisse


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.