The TRACE study, commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency, has found that sleep deprivation, exercise or stress in adults with peanut allergy significantly reduced the amount of peanut needed to trigger an allergic reaction.
The Food Standards Agency Chair, Heather Hancock said “The FSA commissioned and funded this ground-breaking research because we want to significantly improve the understanding of everyday impacts that can contribute to an allergic reaction.
“This is vital work and can help us redefine how foods are labelled in future, so that people can manage their allergies more safely.
“It’s impossible to remove the allergy risk for people, but these findings give us essential evidence. In future, it could support precautionary allergen labelling so people will know exactly when a food poses a real risk to them which can increase the trust they have in their food.”
More than 126 peanut allergic individuals took part in the trial. Participants were given a peanut challenge where they were given increasing amounts of peanut flour to eat until they developed an allergic reaction which was treated quickly. This challenge was repeated when they were exercising and when they were sleep-deprived.
Exercise and sleep deprivation each individually lowered the average amount of peanut required to elicit an allergic reaction by approximately half. It was noted the work could be applied to other foods.
Dr Andrew Clark, the chief investigator, said “the immediate benefit is that we can raise awareness among sufferers the consequence of stress, sleep deprivation and exercise can have on tolerance of peanut.”https://www.food.gov.uk/research/food-allergy-and-intolerance-research/the-effect-of-extrinsic-factors-on-food-allergy