Monday Mashup 6: Allergy Psychology, Clinical Trials, Allergy Cure, Books, Recommendation

Monday Mashup 6: Allergy Psychology, Clinical Trials, Allergy Cure, Books, Recommendation

A bite sized update from the world of allergies & food.

Happy Monday! We’re on time this week!

Welcome to issue #6 of our bi-monthly newsletter.

In this short newsletter I’ll be keeping you updated on our journey to make eating out with allergies easy as well as other tasty chunks from the food and allergy world. I’ll also keep you informed on what our community is saying along with expert opinions from within the industry, recipes and much, much more!

This is a newsletter for you, made by you – our allergy community.

Onto the updates…

The World of Eating Out

As we work towards creating a place for you to find, rate and share allergy friendly restaurants, I want to keep you updated as we go. The feedback from you is so, so important and allows us to shape the website to work exactly the way you need it to so thank you. Our goal is to build the first Allergy Friendly Restaurant Guide in the UK!

Here are the things we’ve been working on…

More restaurants… LOTS more!:
I set a goal last week to double the 25 reviews and 114 restaurant listings we have on the site. As we started working on this, I realised there were a lot of people happy to leave reviews for restaurants in Liverpool but we didn’t have the restaurants listed on the guide. So after a few days, I changed the target to focus on getting all restaurants in Liverpool onto the allergy guide – it was a MASSIVE goal and over 1,315 restaurants later… we did it!! We now have 1,415 restaurants listed in Liverpool on the site.

The next 2 weeks – what we’re going to be working on: 

  • Now we have the listings, we’re going to focus entirely on getting more allergy reviews within Liverpool onto the site. I’m setting a target of 50 reviews. I’ll also be looking at how we can start adding more restaurants from across the country in the near future. 

If you’ve eaten out in Liverpool with a dietary requirement and are happy to share a short review about your experience, please reply back to this email – each and every review hugely helps our community!

Food For Thought

🏳️ This article from the Anaphylaxis Campaign on a large allergy study sheds light on the psychological impact of people across Europe living with peanut allergies. It shows the severe impact of living with food allergies and highlights an urgency and need for more support. The most shocking finding is that 52% of people within the UK who took part in the study, report being bullied about their allergies which is a devastating statistic. Although the study was focussed on peanut allergies, I suspect people with other food allergies have similar experiences. It highlights the need for more support by everyone affected.

😊 But on the positive side, I recently stumbled across this Q&A with Dr Kari Nadeau which may do just that. Dr Nadeau is an immunologist who heads the allergy research center at Stanford University. The Q&A is quite short, but a few key snippets stand out. One thing which is mentioned in passing is that Stanford University has patented a powdered food product that can be mixed with baby food to help prevent allergies. It does this by exposing babies to a wide variety of different food proteins which aligns with research that tells us the sooner babies are exposed to potential allergens, the less likely they are to develop allergies. 

The Q&A also goes on to mention that Dr Nadeau has conducted a clinical trial that desensitised her allergy patients to 5 allergens at a time! This is incredible as we know most allergy sufferers tend to be allergic to more than 1 allergen. The trial is now in ‘Phase 3’ and if it achieves what they’ve set out to, it will provide the evidence for people to get insurance in the US to cover this approach of desensitisation. The eventual impact of this I’d imagine, will be in the form of a DIY home kit product like Palforzia. 

Dr Nadeau then goes on to talk about how her lab has identified the biomarkers that predict whether a patient has been cured through the treatment. The definition Dr Nadeau gives of a patient being cured is, “they maintain tolerance to their allergens without eating them every day.” A cure isn’t assured for every patient but other oral immunotherapy studies have shown that patients on the programme can maintain their tolerance by continuing to eat foods of their allergen everyday in specific quantities.

🧪 After finding the Q&A above I was interested to see what else has been hidden in the Stanford Medicine archives. After a bit of digging, I came across this article written in 2014 from a mum of 2 children that were involved in Dr Nadeau’s oral immunotherapy trials. The patients’ mum goes on to share her experience and goes into a lot more detail of what happened. The most interesting thing is that Dr Madeau also accepted adults as well as children into the trial and for those that stayed in the study, there was a 100% success rate! Meaning everyone who followed through with their treatment could now tolerate all 5 allergens. There’s no mention of how many of these patients were ‘cured’ based on the definition above but the results are still incredible. My favourite quote from the article is, “It turns out that everyone’s immune system is capable of adapting — and surprisingly, it is as true of adults as children”, which gives me tonnes of hope! 

📚 And seeing as this whole newsletter is basically a homage to Dr Kari Naedu and her research, she has recently published a new book called, The End of Food Allergy. I don’t like recommending books I haven’t read but based on the research she’s done and her background, I’m going to assume it’s going to be a groundbreaking read. I’ve ordered it so will update you with my notes once I’ve read it. If you get there before me, please do reach out and we can share notes – I’ve got a few books to get through before I get onto this one so would love to get your insights before I pick it up myself.

Community Recommendation

Following on from last week, I gave a huge shout out to Angie Pery* (spelt correct this time! 🤭) for her suggestion to include a community recommendation in each newsletter. I also asked Angie to be the first to share a recommendation and she didn’t disappoint.

Over to Angie…

Our go-to ever faithful restaurant has got to be Nando’s. The staff are amazing with allergies. Nothing is too much trouble for the manager or the chef. They let me stand and watch as they clean the grill before they cook my little guy’s food! His allergies are very difficult to cater for and he’s never once had a reaction, which is huge in our world.

Their standards are consistently top-notch and we leave there having had a fantastic experience every single visit.

A huge thank you to Angie for being the first to share! It’s a great feature of the newsletter that I think is here to stay. If you have a particular restaurant, especially a local independent that you want to help shine a light on and celebrate their effort, please reply to this email with the restaurant’s name and why you think they’re great!

End Note

As the newsletter grows, I expect the content to evolve as well . One thing I want to keep consistent throughout the journey though, is that it’s driven by you. If you have any feedback or want to share anything please get it touch. I read and reply to every email so make sure to reach out!

And as always, should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through. 

Speak soon,

P.S. To follow our journey and get these updates, sign up to our newsletter here.

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