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Dry roasted peanuts more likely to trigger an allergy than raw

24/09/2014 | By Freedom Health Insurance
Researchers at Oxford University have found that dry roasted peanuts are more likely to spark an allergy to peanuts than raw peanuts.
Proteins from both dry roasted and raw peanuts were introduced to mice in three different ways – injected under the skin, applied on broken skin and directly into the stomach – and their immune responses were measured after further exposure to peanut proteins.
The mice that had been initially exposed to dry roasted peanut proteins had a greatly increased immune system response when given further peanut proteins than the mice that were exposed to raw peanut proteins.
First Author Dr Amin Moghaddam of Oxford University said:  ‘The dry roasting causes a chemical modification of peanut proteins that appears to activate the immune system against future exposure to peanuts.’
These results may explain why more people in the Western world, where roasted and dry roasted peanuts are common, suffer from peanut allergies than in East Asia where peanuts are more often eaten raw, boiled or fried. 
Professor Sattenau who led the research said:  ‘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 it would be premature to avoid roasted peanuts and their products until further work has been carried out to confirm this result.’
Allergy UK confirms that allergy to peanut and tree nuts is the most common food allergy in adults and children, with peanut allergy estimated to affect 1 in 50 young infants.
More information about food allergies is available from the NHS website.

The study is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, the US National Institutes of Health and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The original press release can be found here.