Food Allergies and Asthma have been on the increase over the last few decades, so is there a connection?
It seems there is and research is backing this up, for example babies who test positive to egg allergy have an increased risk of developing asthma. Children who develop food allergies early in life are more prone to asthma. It is known that around 48% of asthmatic children have a food allergy, though this data is a decade old, I suspect it would be higher now. Studies have shown, if your child is diagnosed with food allergies in the first two years of life, they have an increased risk of developing asthma around school age.
Food allergies and asthma fall into something known as the atopic march, which if you are an allergy parent I am sure you have heard of. It involves 4 conditions: food allergies, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Chances are you are not just dealing with food allergies, you are managing at least one of these as well.
There have been a few observational studies done with small groups of children, looking at food allergies making asthma more life threatening. It was found that children who had food allergies and asthma had an increased risk of anaphylaxis. So it is vital that solid management plans are in place, at home, at school and at any caregivers. As a mum with a child who has both, I know how scary this can be, and I believe educating those who care for your child is key. We need to educate, as this is life threatening.
There is a gut-lung axis, you may have already suspected I was going to bring up gut health, as the gut pretty much has influence throughout the entire body. The lungs have their own microbiome, and there is ‘cross-talk’ between the microbiota in the lungs and gut. It’s evident that imbalance (dysbiosis) in the gut has a high influence on the development of asthma. In fact, studies have sited ‘that dysbiosis in the gut and lungs seem to be critical causes of the increased emergence of asthma.’
Evidence suggests that an increased diversity of microbiome in the airways may be protective, it’s certainly the case when it comes to the gut microbiome. Obviously there are other factors that influence asthma development, such as environmental influences (allergens, air pollutants), genetics and more.
So what can we do? While research is ongoing in this area, we know that having a healthy gut can reduce the risk of further atopic conditions developing and if you are already dealing with asthma, improving gut health has positive influence on the lung microbiome.
Therefore start with the gut! Start with simple steps, as I have outlined in my Food Allergies & Gut Health ebook, which you can download for free here.
I am a degree qualified clinical nutritionist, but I am not your nutritionist, this blog is written as observations only and is not intended to be personalised health advice, I am just sharing my thoughts, based on experience and scientific evidence. If you are requiring 1;1 consultation, please reach out ( firstname.lastname@example.org or DM on instagram ) and if you want to connect with other food allergy parents who are focusing on optimising their child’s health, I am putting something together that you may want to be part of, jump on the waitlist and I will share more so
di Palmo E, Gallucci M, Cipriani F, Bertelli L, Giannetti A, Ricci G. Asthma and Food Allergy: Which Risks? Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Aug 21;55(9):509. doi: 10.3390/medicina55090509. PMID: 31438462; PMCID: PMC6780261.
Hufnagl K, Pali-Schöll I, Roth-Walter F, Jensen-Jarolim E. Dysbiosis of the gut and lung microbiome has a role in asthma. Semin Immunopathol. 2020 Feb;42(1):75-93. doi: 10.1007/s00281-019-00775-y. Epub 2020 Feb 18. PMID: 32072252; PMCID: PMC7066092.