Food Sensitization Linked to Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Mortality

Stronger association seen for milk sensitization in both NHANES and MESA cohorts
Food Sensitization Linked to Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Mortality
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

FRIDAY, Nov. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Food sensitization is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) mortality, with a stronger association for milk sensitization, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Corrine Keet, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined whether sensitization to common food allergens is associated with CV mortality using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005 to 2006 and the Wake Forest site of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort. In NHANES, total and specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) was measured to cow's milk, egg, peanut, shrimp, and a panel of aeroallergens, while in MESA, IgE was measured to cow's milk, alpha-gal, peanut, dust mite, and timothy grass.

Data were included for 4,414 adults from NHANES (229 CV deaths) and 960 from MESA (56 CV deaths). The researchers found that sensitization to at least one food was associated with higher CV mortality in NHANES (hazard ratio [HR], 1.7), with a stronger association seen for milk sensitization (HR, 2.0), which was replicated in MESA (HR, 3.8). The food sensitization relationships were strengthened on restriction of analyses in NHANES to consumers of the relevant allergen, unmasking shrimp and peanut sensitization as additional risk factors for CV mortality.

"These data raise intriguing questions about the relevance of food sensitization and diet in CVD development, but further studies -- including replication of the finding of modification by consumption, investigation of the CV subtypes implicated, and identification of biological mechanisms -- will be important before any changes to medical practice can be considered," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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