Food allergy

Epidemiological study of patients with food allergies

M. Peneva, MC „Evrozdrave-Bulgaria”, excerpt from Abstract of dissertation, Sofia 2016, p. 27-29

Food allergies have significant harmful effects on families, economics, social interactions, school, work and service, as well as on quality of life related to health.

According to the medical observations, people with higher living standard and more active immune prophylaxis are more often affected by allergies.

The incidence of allergic diseases is increasing among all age groups. One of the most common allergies is the food allergy. For example, allergy to peanuts has doubled over the last decade. Food allergy is defined as an immunologically mediated hypersensitivity reaction to food proteins that are harmless, but alien to the human immune system. Major risk factors for the emergence and development of food allergy are the family medical history and environmental factors, especially important of which is the intake of foreign proteins such as cow’s milk, eggs, fish, soy.

A clinical study of food allergies involving 58 patients aged between 3 and 81 years was conducted in MC Evrozdrave in the period 2009 – 2014 in cooperation with specialist physicians. 6 of the patients were children aged from 3 to 9 years. 29 patients were women aged from 22 to 81 years and 23 were men aged from 24 to 71 years. All patients had different manifestations of allergic reactions. In some of them we observed classic symptoms of allergy – lacrimation, rhinitis, various rashes, itchy skin, diarrhea. In some patients we observed newly found symptoms of food allergy – hair loss, dandruff, periodontal disease, elevated levels of prolactin in young women. All patients have undergone immunoassay tests for 19 groups of food allergens by the ELISA method – immunomodulation for determination of the number of the specific antibodies against certain food allergens in blood serum. The patients were submitted to allergy tests to 19 groups of food proteins. All patients were found to be hypersensitive towards more than one food allergen.

The high percentage of food allergy to peanuts, seafood, strawberry, egg whites, cocoa and cow’s milk should be noted. Only one patient was found to be allergic to goat’s milk. Most likely this is due to the fact that the composition and nutritional functions of goat’s milk are the closest to the breast milk. A difference should be made between allergy to milk proteins and insufficient production of the enzyme lactase in the body, which enzyme breaks down lactose (milk sugar). After establishing the type of food allergy, we advised all patients to stop the consumption of food containing the respective food allergens, we recommended antiallergenic treatment with claritine 1 to 2 tablets daily depending on the severity of the allergy and probiotic treatment with Laktera Nature 15 g daily dose in combination with Laktera Rose oil 2 capsules a day. The probiotic dietary therapy for the patients with an established allergy to cow’s milk protein was a probiotic with goat’s milk Laktera Allergy free 15 g daily dose in combination with Laktera Allergy Free Rose+ – 2 capsules a day. Probiotics containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus combined with Bulgarian rose oil significantly reduce allergy symptoms and the allergic predisposition of the body.

Additionally, but not related to the allergic process, Lactobacillus bulgaricus improves lactose digestion and it has an approved health claim pursuant to Regulation 432/2012 of the European Union. Clinical symptoms of food allergy have faded away for a period of 2 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of allergy. We explained to the patients that they have to select and purchase food products carefully by checking the information on the labels about the composition of the food and the allergens contained therein. We advised the patients to actively look to allergens in the menus of the public restaurants.

The results of the study show that allergic diseases have increased considerably over the last decade. Food allergy can now be referred to the socially significant diseases. Obviously, food allergy is widely spread among the working-age population and necessitates specialized medical care. It requires a complex therapy with medical specialists, health managers and experts on food safety. Food allergy causes great social, economic and psychological damages to the population. People suffering from food allergy should be concerned with their health keeping anti-risk behavior and healthy lifestyle by active and targeted search of allergens in products before consumption.