AGEs may be responsible for causing peanut allergies

PeanutsWe’ve known for a long time that advanced glycation end-products have been linked to a wide variety of health issues, whether something minor like wrinkled skin or something serious like cancer and diabetes. But a recent study suggests that AGEs may also be the reason why some people suffer from peanut allergies.

The Economist just published an article titled “Browned off” about a paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The paper details an Oxford University study conducted by Dr. Quentin Sattentau in which mice were found to be more likely to develop a peanut allergy in response to dry-roasted nuts than in response to raw ones.

According to the study, common food allergy statistics in the West generally match those in East Asia, with the exception of peanuts. Even though both regions consume similar amounts of peanuts, peanut allergies are much more prevalent in the West.

Regarding why that’s the case, the article stated:

“Since dry roasting is more common in the West than in East Asia, that may explain the disparity of incidence. And the chemical changes induced by dry roasting help explain what causes peanut allergy in the first place.”

The chemical change being referenced is the Maillard reaction, which is the browning effect that takes place when food is toasted, baked, fried or roasted.

The article stated:

“The Maillard reaction is one between sugars and proteins that forms new, complex molecules called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). These create many of the pleasant aromas associated with cooked foods, but are also suspected of causing certain allergies—including, it would now appear, peanut allergy.

Indeed, Dr Sattentau showed that proteins derived from dry-roasted peanuts bind to dendritic cells, a type important to the immune response. Specifically, these proteins interact with cell receptor-molecules known to bind to AGEs. Dr Sattentau believes this binding is the molecular mechanism which triggers peanut allergy.”


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Copyright 2012 AGE Foundation.