Dry Roasted Peanuts are ‘Worst for Allergies’

According to an Oxford study that was carried out on mice, dry roasted peanuts are thought to be more likely to trigger allergies than raw peanuts. Researchers claim that the dry roasting process creates chemical changes that can spark allergic reactions in the future by priming the immune system. However, they say that more work needs to be carried out before people start to substitute raw nuts for roasted ones.

During the study, the scientists exposed mice to peanut proteins through the stomach or the skin. The mice given the samples of dry roasted nuts had a significantly stronger immune response than those that were given the raw peanut samples. An immune response is the body’s way of resisting things that feel unusual to it. These responses can vary greatly in humans. Some are relatively mild, causing symptoms such as a rash, whereas others can be far more dangerous, leading to difficulties with breathing and swelling around the mouth.

Researchers suggest that it could be the high temperatures used when roasting peanuts that cause the chemical changes that essentially lead to an allergic reaction. Professor Quentin Sattentau, who led the research, has stated that this is the first instance to his knowledge that a potential peanut allergy trigger has been shown directly in a study. The belief among scientists is that these findings could explain the fact that East Asian populations have significantly lower peanut allergy rates. In East Asia, raw, fried and boiled nuts are consumed considerably more often than roasted nuts.

However, researchers do warn that a lot of work is still necessary to be carried out before doctors begin to make specific requirements regarding their patients’ dietary needs. Professor Sattentau has said that he and his fellow researchers are aware that children in families who suffer from other allergies are more likely to develop an allergy to peanuts. He went on to say that the research is still in its early stages, so it is still too soon to advise people to avoid roasted peanuts and similar products until further research into this topic has been conducted to confirm the results.

Scientists are now looking into how to eliminate the chemical changes that are thought to be responsible for causing allergic reactions. NHS Choices states that nut allergies are relatively common in both adults and children of school-age.  On top of this, peanuts are among the most common causes of allergic reactions to food that can prove to be fatal.

People who are allergic to peanuts are advised to avoid them entirely. Many also carry auto-injector pens to reduce severe reactions that may occur.  Professor Sattentau’s research can be found in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.