Genetics of Food Allergy and Intolerance

Can genetics explain if you are allergic to some pollens or foods?

White blood cell patterns determined genetically and designated as HLA DQ and DR genes have been identified with an increased risk of pollen, dust, latex, and food allergies. The intriguing part of this story is that there is an advantage to knowing your HLA DR and DQ type when evaluating your risk for pollen allergies and their associated food allergies or cross reactions.

Genetics of Food Reactions and Allergies

As I explain in more detail in my articles on the genetics of gluten sensitivity, we all have proteins on the surface of our cells that are genetically determined. These patterns are easily detectable by testing cells from blood or from the mouth obtained by a Q-tip type swab. Specific patterns have been associated with increased risk for autoimmune conditions, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

HLA DQ Genetics and Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity

HLA DQ2 is present in more than 90% of people who have celiac disease while HLADQ8 is present in most of the rest, though not all people with celiac have been found to have DQ2 and/or DQ8. russian store

DQ and DR Genetic Patterns Associated with Food and Pollen Allergies or Sensitivities?

Now it appears certain DQ or DR patterns are associated with food and pollen allergies as well. As the Food Doc, I continue to search the literature for more information about genetic links to food allergy and intolerance. My search has led to me to a couple of interesting articles in the unusual area of oral allergy syndrome (OAS). The relationship between seasonal and perennial nasal allergies and food allergies is certainly well established but not generally known by most doctors or patients. It appears that some of us need to avoid eating certain foods if we have hay fever or allergies, especially during the hay fever season. This problem also appears to be inherited.

Research Documents Genetic Association With Certain Food and Pollen Allergies

Boehncke, et al. from the University of Frankfurt reported in 1998 that certain white blood cell types known HLA class II genotypes or HLA DQ and DR genetic patterns were found more frequently in people with certain pollen associated food allergies. HLA-DQB1*0301 is present in more people with grass pollen allergy. Those with HLA-DRB1*08, an inherited white blood cell protein pattern linked with a grass pollen allergy, have six times the increased risk of peanut allergy. Those who have inherited the HLA-DRB1*12 white blood cell pattern are 13 times higher at risk for carrot allergy.

Tree Pollen Allergy to Birch Tree Pollen Appears to be Worst

Birch pollen associated hazel nut allergy is linked to HLA-DRB1*01, DQA1*0101, and DQB1*0501. Hazel nut, almond, walnut and apple are the most common food allergies associated with birch tree pollen. Allergies to those foods are commonly associated with birch tree pollen in other studies.

Weed Allergies Also Associated With Food Reactions

In 2004, Wang et al. from China published that the inherited white blood cell type DQA1*0302 is found in more people with Artemisia pollen-induced allergic rhinitis, hay fever due to Mugwort or Sagebrush weeds. Mugwort allergy is associated with several food allergies including apple, celery, hazelnut, pistachio, lettuce, almond, peanut, and carrots.

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