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Why are so many people allergic to peanuts? © iStock

Why are so many people allergic to peanuts?

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Having a peanut allergy can be life threatening, but we’re still not sure why it is so common.

Asked by: Helen Shipley, Durham

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Nobody is exactly sure, but it seems to be a combination of factors. Higher hygiene levels in modern society may cause the immune system to develop inappropriate reactions to some food proteins, and the fact that peanut oil is used in a lot of infant skin creams may prime the immune system early on. Roasting peanuts also seems to increase the concentration of some of the allergens.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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