Are food allergies hereditary?

I’m allergic to tree nuts and fish just like my mother, so one day I was wondering, “Are food allergies hereditary?” The answer?
Not exactly.

If you have allergies, it doesn’t necessarily mean you got them from your parents. If your mother has an allergy, you have a 50% chance of developing it too. If both your parents have the same allergy, then your odds are around 80%.

Doctors believe other factors come into play, like air pollution, diet, emotions, infections of the airways and certain aspects of the environment.

Let’s start with the fact that, very often, certain hereditary conditions can cause symptoms that are mistaken for an allergic reaction to a type of food. These include, but are not limited to the lack of an enzyme needed to fully digest a certain product. If you have insufficient lactase, for example, you will have difficulty digesting lactose, which is known as lactose intolerance. Those who are lactose intolerant cannot consume milk and dairy products in general without experiencing bloating, gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Sensitivity to certain food additives can be hereditary. Some of us have digestive reactions and other problems after consuming certain food additives. Sulfites used to preserve wine, canned food and dried fruit can trigger asthma attacks.

Celiac disease, a term sometimes used interchangeably with gluten allergy, can manifest itself in something that looks like an allergic reaction, but is in reality far more complicated than that. If you suffer from celiac disease and consume foods containing gluten, your immune system responds, damaging your small intestine. You can’t absorb certain nutrients from then on.

At any rate, you are at an increased risk of food allergies if your parents or other relatives have hives, allergies, hay fever, asthma, or eczema.

Are tree nut allergies hereditary?

Tree nut allergies are no more likely to be hereditary than other types of allergies, but if you are allergic to tree nuts, you are more likely to be allergic to shellfish. If you are young, the likelihood of outgrowing an egg, soy, wheat or milk allergy is very great. With nut and shellfish allergies, this is not the case.