People with food allergies less likely to contract COVID-19, US study finds 

USA – People with physician-diagnosed food allergies are less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, a new study conducted in the US has suggested.  

The study evaluated volunteers from 1,394 households (4,142 people total). About half of the participants claimed to have a physician diagnosed food allergy, asthma, eczema, or allergic rhinitis.  

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At the end of the six months study period, 147 households (261 participants) had tested positive for COVID-19.  Age didn’t affect transmission rates. However, children were far less likely to have symptoms than adults. 

Results revealed that households that had an individual with a food allergy experienced lower transmission rates.  In fact, food allergies were linked to a 50 percent lower risk of getting infected while Asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema did not appear to increase or decrease the risk of infection. 

Explaining the results, the study’s first author Max A. Seibold, Ph.D., noted that the lower risk associated with allergies it might have to do with inflammation already present in the body — specifically, type 2 inflammation. 

Type 2 inflammation is a normal immune response to infection, parasites, and (in some people) allergic conditions like food allergies.  

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Dr. Seibold and his team theorize that this type of inflammation reduces the ability of COVID-19 to enter cells. 

While allergies reduced exposure, lifestyle associated conditions such as obesity and a high body mass index (BMI) were linked to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. 

“Participants who were overweight or obese had a 41% greater risk of infection than those who were not,” notes the study. 

 Obese people have an associated increased risk of contracting COVID-19 with the risk of death from the disease found to be tenfold in countries where over half the population is classified as overweight, according to The World Obesity Federation. 

A Swedish investigation uncovered the connection of severe COVID-19 to adults who had high BMI as older teenagers, being true even for the higher range inside the healthy BMI category (22.5-25 BMI).  

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Additionally, a Russian study flagged that obesity independently worsens disease prognosis by at least six times. 

New study sheds light on taste loss during Covid-19 

Covid-19 pandemic also brought a new health challenge in the form of Parosmia which is also described as having a distorted sense of smell.  

Prior to the global pandemic caused by COVID, parosmia was a rare condition known to occur after infections such as cold, flu or sinus infections. 

During the pandemic, COVID symptoms included loss of smell and taste in 50-60% of cases, of which about 10% developed parosmia. 

For people with this condition, certain food and drinks can smell and taste disgusting. The aroma of freshly ground coffee could for instance be as disgusting as burning rubbish. 

In new research published in Communications Medicine, a team of scientists has found that certain highly potent odour molecules found in coffee trigger the sense of disgust which is associated with parosmia. 

Other foods believed to set off parosmia in sufferers include coffee, onions, garlic, chicken, and green peppers. 

Study authors hoped that the research could be an assurance to be those with parosmia that their experience is “real ” and that we can identify other foods which may also be triggered. 

Moreover, the research presents opportunities for doctors to suggest “safe” foods that are less likely to cause a problem.  

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