Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are compounds formed during food processing. They have previously been implicated in the development of childhood food allergies, and their potential role has become clearer thanks to new research.
A group in Italy has demonstrated that AGEs are potent disruptors of gut health. The compounds compromise the integrity of the intestinal barrier, allowing food particles to breach the gut’s natural defences and trigger an immune response.
Extending beyond their influence on the gut, the new studies reveal AGEs have the ability to activate allergy-promoting cells and amplify the production of Th2 cytokines, the chemical messengers of allergic reactions. AGEs were found to also disrupt mitochondria function, further impairing the body’s natural immune defences.
The researchers observed significantly higher dietary intake of AGEs and accumulation of AGEs in the skin in children with food allergy compared with age-matched healthy counterparts. Considering these findings, limiting the consumption of ultra-processed foods during childhood could play an important role in reducing the development of food allergies.
Reference: Paparo et al. 2023. How advanced glycation end products could facilitate the occurrence of food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. S0091-6749(23)01514-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2023.11.023.