Thursday, September 11, 2014
Summary: The cure for peanut allergy should follow naturally from knowledge of the cause. Since most allergies and autoimmune diseases result from the combination of 1) inflammation, 2) breakdown of immunological tolerance and 3) presentation of a primary immunogen, it follows that some types of peanut allergy are based on a continued problem with immune tolerance and fixing that defect should eliminate an allergic response to peanuts. The current cure to resurrect immune tolerance is by enhancing regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the gut using resistant starch to improve the growth of Clostridia in the gut.
Peanut allergies are dangerous and this post does not advocate any medical treatments, but rather attempts to explain the cause and cures of allergies.
Just Treat the Immunological Tolerance Problem Instead of Mast Cells
Most people in fear of anaphylaxis from peanut dust, just try desperately to avoid peanuts in any guise. That avoids the problem, but why not cure the allergy? Recent research shows that peanut allergens can be prevented from establishing an allergic response in mice by addition of Clostridium species of bacteria in the gut flora. It was shown that the Clostridia increased Tregs (regulatory T cells responsible for immune tolerance) in the lining of the intestines via interleukin 22 production. So the cure to some peanut allergies may be increasing Tregs and fixing tolerance.
I Said It All Before
It is not a large step to combine my previous posts covering potato resistant starch for treatment of deficiencies of immunological tolerance with my explanation of the cause of allergies and autoimmunity to provide a simple explanation of the cause and cure for some peanut allergies.
Peanut Allergen is a Typical Bean Storage Protein Except for the Basic Triplet
It is not difficult to find out why peanuts are allergenic. I just went to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) web site and queried the protein sequence databases for “peanut allergen.” Here is the complete amino acid sequence (each of the 20 amino acids of the protein is assigned a letter) of the major peanut [Arachis hypogaea] allergen:
The triplet of basic amino acids (R=arginine, K=lysine), RRR in this case, which is found in all allergens and autoantigens, is highlighted in red. If you eat peanuts with an inflamed gut and you have wiped out your Clostridia and associated Tegs with antibiotics, you have a good chance of developing autoimmunity, as well as a peanut allergy. The cause of allergies is that simple and the cure is equally simple.
Shellfish Allergy Shows the Relationship between Allergy and Autoimmunity
I ran across a list of other food allergens when I was checking up on peanuts. Shellfish was listed as another of the big allergies. I looked up “shellfish allergen” and ran into thousands of entries. The first couple of dozen proteins lacked the characteristic basic triplet, so I had to step back and try to guess the most typical shellfish for first exposure, i.e. the primary immunogen. All of the other shellfish allergens were various versions of the muscle protein, tropomyosin, so I looked up “shrimp allergen.”
Note the predicted basic triplet in red. Since I was on a roll, I also checked out related tropomyosin sequences in humans:
Once again the basic triplet indicated that there was a related human tropomyosin that could interact with antibodies to the shellfish allergen or could be an autoantigen participating in autoimmune diseases. So I checked PubMed for “tropomyosin autoantigen” and quickly found that antibodies to tropomyosin are important in ulcerative colitis (UC). Thus, shellfish allergy may be an indication of an underlying predisposition to UC. And, the traditional cure for allergy by injection with small amounts of the allergen to convert from IgE to IgG, would convert a shellfish allergy into UC.
Avoiding Allergens Makes No More Sense Than Trying to Avoid Autoantigens
To fix allergies, it is necessary to eliminate the cause and block perpetuation of the condition. The cause is based on 1)inflammation, 2) broken immune tolerance and 3) primary immunogen. Peanuts are the primary immunogen, but that is unimportant if the causing conditions are eliminated and tolerance is reestablished. Clearly, if immunological tolerance is reestablished, then it's just a matter of time before peanuts are no longer a problem, because increasing Tregs will silence the dramatic immunological response to peanuts. Tolerance is based on Tregs and Tregs develop in the intestines in response to Clostridia feeding on soluble fiber/resistant starch.
Curing Peanut Allergies is Based on Repairing Gut Flora
There are a couple of hundred different species in the pounds of bacteria in the healthy human gut. Most of those bacteria require soluble fiber that is systematically removed during food processing. For most people, the cure for peanut allergies will be resistant starch/Clostridium therapy, followed by further repair with fermented foods that provide the typical lactic acid bacteria and soluble fiber along with companion bacteria that can recolonize the gut. The cure for many allergies and autoimmune diseases is just to eat a couple of tablespoons of resistant starch each day and if needed, supplement with probiotics containing Clostridium butyricum. If there is severe dysbiosis, as indicated by constipation, then fixing the gut flora is a little more difficult, but for most people cures are much cheaper and effective than just treating symptoms.
A guide for the use of resistant starch is provided by Richard Nikoley, et al. at Free the Animal.