Childhood Allergies

Childhood Allergies – Part 9 – GMOs

Childhood AllergiesThis is the ninth in a series of posts answering the question: “Why has there been such an astronomical rise in childhood allergies?”

Today I’m going to talk about the theory that says GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are the cause in the increase in food allergies. If you aren’t sure what GMOs are or need a refresher, you can read my post: Childhood Allergies – Part 8 – What are GMOs:

One of the most popular theories to explain the rapid increase in food allergies is that there is a connection between GMOs and food allergies.

Consider these facts:

  • GMO soy entered the US food supply in late 1996.
  • The levels of trypsin inhibitor, a major soy allergen, are 27% higher in GMO soy.
  • Before 1996, soy was NOT considered to be among the list of top allergens.
  • Soybeans and peanuts are both legumes that share common proteins or allergens.*
  • Between 1997 and 2002, peanut allergies in the US doubled. And they are increasing at the rate of roughly 20% per year.

Coincidence? Not likely.

The connection between GMOs and food allergies is based on circumstantial evidence. The companies creating genetically modified foods refuse to do any testing, saying their foods are safe. Testing a new food for its ability to cause an allergy is difficult and potentially dangerous. BUT, we do know that when we genetically modify a food, we are introducing new proteins into that food. Sometimes we don’t know what proteins are introduced. GMOs are just a bad idea until we have more information.

The focus here is on soy because it is very common in our food supply. And so it is the most studied. It is estimated to be in at least 60 – 70% of all processed foods. In fact, by 2008, 98% of all soy in the United States was GMO soy from Monsanto. You can read more about Monsanto in this PDF from the Organic Consumers Association.

* The soy-peanut connection is based on cross-reactions. Since they are both legumes, a protein in soy may look enough like a similar protein in peanuts to cause an allergy to peanuts.

Next up in the series I’m going to talk about my own theory on why allergies are on the rise.

This is the ninth in a series of blog posts answering the question: “Why has there been such an astronomical rise in childhood allergies?” To view other posts:

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