Why are so many people allergic to peanuts? © iStock

Why are so many people allergic to peanuts?

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

Asked by: Helen Shipley, Durham

Advertisement

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.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.