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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Jun;121(6):1331-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2008.04.032.

Epidemiologic risks for food allergy.

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Kings College London, St Thomas' Hospital, Children's Allergies Department, London, United Kingdom.


This article reviews possible risk factors and theories for the development of food allergy. It is noted that previous strategies to prevent food allergy through allergen avoidance during pregnancy, breast-feeding, and infancy have more recently been called into question. Alternative hypotheses are examined with respect to food allergy, namely the hygiene hypothesis, the dietary fat hypothesis, the antioxidant hypothesis, and the vitamin D hypotheses. An alternative hypothesis is proposed, suggesting that sensitization to allergen occurs through environmental exposure to allergen through the skin and that consumption of food allergen induces oral tolerance. This hypothesis provides a possible explanation for the close link between eczema and the development of food allergies. It also suggests novel interventional strategies to prevent the development of food allergies.

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