Exercise and sleep deprivation increase risk in people with peanut allergies

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has commissioned and funded a study that has found exercise and sleep deprivation can significantly reduce the amount of peanut needed to trigger an allergic reaction in people with peanut allergy. According to media reports, FSA invested in this research to improve the understanding of everyday impacts that can contribute to an allergic reaction. 

The research was carried out by an allergy research team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. The exercise challenge consisted of a 10-minute bout of exercise, 5 minutes after a non-eliciting dose of peanut protein was administered to a peanut-allergic participant. The sleep challenge required participants to stay on the research ward overnight. They were allowed to sleep for a maximum of 2 hours and then kept awake until the challenge.

Sleep deprivation decreased the eliciting dose predicted to provoke a reaction in 1 per cent of individuals with peanut allergy (ED1) from 1.5 mg to 0.5 mg. Similarly, exercise was observed to decrease the ED1 from 1.5 mg to 0.3 mg.

These findings will be used in work around food labelling, particularly in undertaking risk assessments to support the use of precautionary allergen labelling.

Reference: Dua et al. 2019 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: /10.1016/j.jaci.2019.06.038 The full publication is available with Open Access.