: Why are food allergies almost entirely non-existent in less developed countries compared to more developed countries?

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: Why are food allergies almost entirely non-existent in less developed countries compared to more developed countries?

In: Biology

I know that being around animals at a young age reduces the chance of allergies but that may be airborn allergens.

Also, if you have a lot of siblings you’re much less likely to be allergic to anything.

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Underreporting is a cause according to this study… people don’t have as good access to health care institutions, which is where a lot of health statistics are collected. So it may not be any different, it’s just the data collection system isn’t as ubiquitous as in developing countries.

https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(17)31812-2/pdf

The most prevalent explanation is the bubble theory.

For thousands of years our immune systems have had to work hard and attack pathogens. In the developed world, there are so many antibacterial products that we don’t come into contact with many pathogens. Since the immune system expects to have to attack stuff it picks on foodstuffs which are unusual (in terms of diet) resulting in an allergy.

In the developing world there isn’t the same level of antibacterial sprays and such so this doesn’t happen.

As an alternative, the developing world has limited access to steroids so in the case of an extreme reaction the child (typically) would just die and not pass on the allergy gene. In the developed world the child would survive the attack and pass on the genes.