Link between food allergies and multiple sclerosis

Friday, 22 February, 2019

Link between food allergies and multiple sclerosis

The joys of the immune system — its main function is to protect the body from disease but to do this it must be able to distinguish the whole gamut of pathogens from viruses, parasites and bacteria to rogue cancer cells and distinguish them from the body’s healthy tissues. But this is an extremely complex job and errors happen.

The immune system is involved in multiple sclerosis and allergies, but links between the two have not been firmly established until now.

A research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital tried a new approach — investigating the correlation between allergy and inflammatory disease activity. The team found new evidence connecting food allergies (but not other allergies) and relapses of multiple sclerosis. The results are published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

This association between food allergy and MS disease activity highlights an important role for a potential player in immunity and inflammation — the gut. The association was only found with food allergies and not other types of allergies, which might have been expected had this solely been an immune deviation issue.

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