Proteins help make all living things work, from people to animals, bugs to flowers, and everything in between. They are found inside your body’s cells and are responsible for certain jobs, functions, and locations. Examples of specialized proteins include:

  • Collagen which is a connective tissue.
  • Antibodies which are part of the immune system and help fight infections.
  • Enzymes which help break down food for digestion.

You can think of it like this, your body is a car and the proteins are the car’s engine. Just like the car’s engine is made up of many different parts to make a car work, there are many different kinds of proteins with different jobs that all help the body work.

Where do proteins come from?

Simply speaking proteins are made in our bodies by following a very complicated chemical recipe. Our bodies rely on the high-in-protein foods we eat to supply the proper ingredients to make the proteins found in our body. That is why it’s so important to eat a balanced diet that includes foods high-in-protein such as:

  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Milk and milk products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and peas
  • Tofu
  • Eggs

Proteins and allergies:

When you come into contact with “foreign” proteins (such as those that are in foods, pollens, or animals) your body may think they are dangerous and trigger the immune system to launch an attack. The “attack” or immune response is your body’s attempt to flush out or destroy the “foreign” proteins. This attack is also what causes the allergy symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild such as those associated with hay fever to severe such as those associated with an anaphylactic reaction. At this time it is unclear as to why some people are more allergic or sensitive to certain proteins than others.

Proteins and oral allergy syndrome:

Some proteins look very similar. For instance, apple proteins and birch tree pollen proteins look very similar. People with oral allergy syndrome have allergies to pollen allergens (such as tree pollen, grass pollen, or weed pollen) and when they eat foods that have similar proteins to their allergen the body’s immune system gets confused. So for people with birch tree pollen allergies, when they eat apples their immune system thinks it’s really birch tree pollen and will launch an attack causing allergy symptoms.

Further reading:

For more information about the immune system please click here.

For more information about allergic reactions please click here.

For more information about oral allergy syndrome please click here.



Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
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