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Allergies might be good for you after all, paper says

In a Yale University School of Medicine paper, researchers suggest that allergies may have evolved out of the body's response to protect the person from environmental toxins.

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Even Japanese macaques suffer hay fever allergies. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Allergies might be the body's response to protecting itself from environmental toxins, say researchers, just in time for hay fever season.

A new theoretical study at Yale University School of Medicine, argues that type 2 immunity, which helps protect against external environmental hazards, by releasing T cells, evolved to guard against things like large parasites, chemicals and toxins - a decidely good thing.

The study poses the question of whether allergies, instead of being a plague, are actually helping to detoxify us of things that are noxious to our body, said Medical XPress.

It ponders whether certain things people are allergic to are toxic to certain people and not others, as some people do not have the right detoxifying mechanisms.

In that case, allergies are our last line of defense against that peanut butter, or apple or pollen that gives us stomach cramps or a runny nose.

"Just because allergic reactions are perceived as a nuisance, we perceive them as a disease," said study author Ruslan Medzhitov, professor of immunobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, reported the Associated Press.

"It makes a big difference when you go from thinking of something (as a) pathogen to think of it as something that can protect you."

Professor Medzhitov wrote that undoubtedly the system can, however, malfunction, causing extreme allergic reactions.

"We believe that allergic hypersensitivity evolved to survey the environment for the presence of noxious substances," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The paper appears in the journal Nature.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120426/allergies-might-be-good-you-after-all-study-says