Rosacea Sufferers have 10x Food Allergies

Written by on October 17, 2014 in research, symptoms, What Causes Rosacea? with 8 Comments

File this one away with the unusual and `maybe not the whole story’ research results.

Recently publicised research shows that rosacea sufferers are 10 times more likely to have food allergies compared to non rosacea sufferers.

Additionally the research found a 7.5 times likelihood of having urogenital disorders.

Rosacea’s comorbidities are more than skin deep

By: BRUCE JANCIN, Skin & Allergy News Digital Network

OCTOBER 16, 2014

Key clinical point: Rosacea patients are at increased risk for an eclectic variety of chronic systemic comorbid conditions.

Major finding: The strongest associations seen with rosacea were for food allergies, with a 10-fold increased risk, and urogenital disorders, with a 7.5-fold relative risk.

Data source: A case-control study including 65 rosacea patients and an equal number of matched controls.

Disclosures: Dr. Rainer reported no relevant financial conflicts.

AMSTERDAM – Rosacea is associated with increased risk of a range of chronic systemic diseases, including allergies and urogential disorders, a case-control study showed.

The common denominator among this linked diverse collection of diseases is probably underlying systemic inflammation, Dr. Barbara M. Rainer explained at the annual congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. But regardless of the pathophysiologic mechanisms at work, the important thing is that physicians be on the lookout for these comorbid conditions in their patients with rosacea.

Dr. Rainer of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore presented a case-control study involving 130 subjects: 65 rosacea patients and an equal number of controls matched for age, sex, and race.

The most common comorbidity was food allergies (odds ratio, 10), followed by urogenital disorders (OR, 7.5).

Is there a link between Rosacea and Allergy?

The National Rosacea Society’s FAQ tells us

Q.  Is there any relationship between rosacea and allergies?

A.  Allergies may cause an altered reaction of the body that includes flushing, which frequently triggers rosacea symptoms. As with more common rosacea triggers, identifying and avoiding allergens — the substances you are reacting to — may also help control your rosacea.

The NRS devoted an article in Rosacea Review in 2009, noting that rosacea patients tend to have a higher incidence of topical allergy to skincare and treatments.

See also NRS Blog: cathelicidins show allergic basis for rosacea ? for more ideas on how an over-reaction in naturally occurring cathelcidins can lead to rosacea symptoms.

How about you?

Does this make sense to you – that the most common condition found together with rosacea could be food allergy?

Could this link be as simple as a reaction from food intake leading to a rosacea flareup ?

I wonder if it could be that simple and this is what this bit of statistical research is telling us.

Also it is surprising to me that diseases of the urinary and genital tract could be aligned with rosacea symptoms.

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About the Author:

David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998.

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8 Reader Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Doesn’t make sense to me.

  2. Juliette says:

    Makes total sense! This is why we track for triggers. I have found a definite relationship between my food intake and my redness.

  3. Paul says:

    I think this is so, although the word “allergy” is likely incorrect as it is not (at least in my case) a histamine related phenomenon but rather a reaction to as noted, various foods and chemicals, as well as sun exposure. I’m surprised that this is considered new news, as it seems well documented on the web. It comes back to my beef that rosacea is pretty much exclusively in the hands of dermatologists, while the cause goes well beyond just being a skin thing,

    • Ginger says:

      Absolutely. And it seems as though most of the research for cures and treatments are about topical treatments, when it is clearly some kind of immune response that is happened inside the body. It is so disappointing that researchers/doctors/big pharma pay so little attention to this.

      Ask any rosacea sufferer, and most will tell you that certain foods are a trigger for a flare-up(my own triggers are caffeine, chilli, alcohol, glutamines such as cheese, soy sauce etc etc. All the best foods really…). I have found anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories block the response a little bit, but not enough.

  4. Lori S. says:

    This makes total sense to me. Could be the same or a related auto-immune disorder causing both rosacea and food allergies, or the same immune system trigger (e.g., overactive intestinal bacterial growth, as just one example, has been cited as being co-morbid with rosacea, and may be linked to food allergies). I think this is just another piece of evidence of rosacea being linked to other immune system problems, and not just an isolated disorder.

  5. Sandra says:

    I am not surprised by these findings either. I have a LOT of stomach issues, so at the suggestion of a natural medicine nurse practitioner (NP) I took one of those food sensitivity blood tests (ALCAT). My NP was alarmed when my test came back with over 75 food sensitivities! Some of the items were things I consumed every day (like soy) and items I thought were healthy, but I guess were not for me. When I was sticking to the elimination diet, my Rosacea and complexion improved, my stomach was not distended and bloated and I felt a lot less sluggish and tired. Greatly curtailing my soy intake, which is difficult because it is in almost EVERYTHING, my hormone balances and PMS symptoms also improved. It is just really difficult to stay away from that many foods while dealing with travel, work and and an active social life. After going through that, I am convinced food intolerances, not necessarily to the point of being called food allergies, play a huge part in our overall health. Try searching for testimonials from people who have taken food sensitivity tests like ALCAT or Immunolabs and you will see how changing their diet changed their life. I’ve experienced it myself, but I am not strong enough to stay away from so many foods, especially my favorites.

    • Corrie says:

      I would love to know more about what foods you ground caused you issues – this is a new concept to me – pls tell me more!! C

  6. Nancy says:

    Lots of truth to food triggers. However, I believe that rosacea is an end result of other deeper health issues, such as having an auto-immune disease causing inflammation. When your body is not working properly we all know about that cascade effect. Example, eating the wrong foods that are sugar laden causes, UTI’s, yeast infections, etc. I have always believed that you are what you eat and the skin on your face will tell you exactly how healthy or unhealthy you are. My food triggers/allergies are gone because I have have built a healthy foundation of health which has taken a short amount of time when you look at the big picture. Sure I get stressed at time, but I have learned how to manage that. Most import to a healthy body is a feeling of happiness that comes from knowing who you are and living a life that suits you. Thank you for this wonderful forum for providing information and help.

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