Raw peanuts may avert danger

Health 1ROASTED peanuts are more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than raw peanuts, according to an Oxford University study.

Scientists say chemical changes caused by dry roasting processes may prime the body’s immune system – sparking future allergic reactions.

But mice were the subject of their research – published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – and they admit that much more work is needed before humans should opt for the raw variety.

The mice were exposed to peanut proteins through the skin or the stomach. And those given the dry-roasted samples had a much stronger immune response – the body’s way of fighting things that appear foreign to it – than mice given the raw versions.

In humans, immune responses vary. Some can be mild, causing rashes for example, but others can be extremely dangerous, leading to swelling of the mouth and breathing difficulties.

Scientists say it is likely to be the high temperatures used to roast nuts that are responsible for the chemical changes which, in turn, prompt the allergic reactions.

Prof Quentin Sattentau, who led the research, said: “This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a potential trigger for peanut allergy has been directly shown.”

And researchers believe the findings may explain the lower allergy rates in East Asian populations, where boiled, raw or fried nuts are a more common part of the diet than roasted ones.

But they warn that much more work is needed before doctors make any specific dietary recommendations.

Prof Sattentau added “We know that children in families with other allergies are more likely to develop peanut allergy.

“However, our research is at an early stage and we think that it would be premature to avoid roasted peanuts and their products until further work has been carried out to confirm this result.”

Scientists are now exploring methods to get rid of the particular chemical changes that may be responsible for kick-starting the immune system.

According to NHS Choices, nut allergies, including peanuts, are relatively common in both school-aged children and adults.

Peanuts are one of the most common causes of fatal allergic reactions to food, and those people with peanut allergies are advised to avoid them.

Many carry auto-injector pens to reduce the severity of any reactions that do occur.

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Posted by on Sep 26 2014. Filed under Health & Beauty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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