Doctor's Note

Check out my other videos on allergies as well as my other videos on immune function.  

For additional context, check out my associated blog posts: Plant-Based Benefits Extend Beyond the Top KillersProtecting Our Babies From PollutantsPlant-Based Diets for PsoriasisSchoolchildren Should Drink More Water; and Mushrooms and Immunity.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos which address allergies and immune function. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

  • jcchavez

    I’ve been vegan for nearly 8 years yet my 9-month old recently had an allergic reaction  even though we hadn’t given him any new food (he got all-over skin spots for 3 days). Only possible culprit I can identify is gelatin I just discovered in some darn Gerber baby food I had mistakenly thought was vegan. Separately he got rough skin patches that may be very mild eczema. Any studies linking gelatin in particular to either condition? I’m so disappointed this is happening.

    • Thea

      jcchavez: I’m so sorry to hear about your 9-month old. I hope he has a full recovery.

      I don’t know if you keep on top of watching each daily video, so I thought I would point you to today’s video:
      This video talks about certain household products like cleaning products that can potentially cause allergies (or cancer?). So, maybe your baby’s problems can be traced to non-food sources. I don’t know of course. I’m just giving you another avenue of research.

      Good luck!

    • Jen

      HI we have had a similar issue trying to get to the root cause of my son’s eczema which seemed to flare up and disappear without any cause. I put him on a vegan version of “the eczema diet” (the authors provide options). He followed a simple starch based diet with limited fruit and vegetables for a short time. His skin cleared within 3 days, after a week of clear skin we started reintroducing foods one at a time. Oranges, corn and raspberries were all triggers for him. Once we had simplified his diet we could clearly see what happened as we reintroduced him to his normal diet one food at a time. When he had a slice of orange we saw a hot, red rash within 2 hours. Raspberries resulted in a face rash within 20 minutes.

      It was well worth it for us to find out those few triggers which could actually be a nice healthy food.

      The author of the book also mentions that there is good news – which is that people do often seem to grow out of some of these sensitivities and after healing the skin you may be able to reintroduce some of these foods without an issue in the future.

      We do try to provide organic foods but that doesn’t seem to be a major factor in comparison to him having these actual trigger foods. Other recommendations I’ve come across include checking your cleaning solutions, especially soaps, clothes washing and dishwashing detergents. (Our dishwashing detergent was a lovely natural organic product that contained citrus so we had to swap because citrus was a strong trigger for him. We also invested in a humidifier as we personally live in a very air conditioned environment but again this wasn’t a major factor in our case and doesn’t improve his skin but may be helpful for some people.

      Good luck with your efforts.

      • Jen

        Oh I forgot to say that if he is still breastfeeding then what mum eats can also be a major factor so while he might not have had new foods if mum did then so did he.

  • Berryman

    I’d be interested in your opinion of this study I found online at This is regarding hempseed oil, not necessarily for children but for adults with eczema. Have you seen other studies looking at hempseed oil and eczema? Is it ok to take so much oil every day for a month?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I was surprised to find so few articles published in the human medical literature on hempseeds, but maybe I shouldn’t be given the lack of much of an industry lobby and the stigma attached to the plant. Only 4 popped up in a pubmed search (excluding articles written by a “Dr. Ian D. Hempseed.”). The latest (available full-text) was a double-blind placebo-controlled comparison of fish, flax and hempseed oil supplementation that lasted 3 months and found no significant effects of any of them on lipid profile, LDL oxidation or measures of inflammation. This result is similar to what was found in my video Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free? Before that a study comparing daily tablespoons of flaxseed to hempseed oil similarly didn’t find much effect. The third was the study you cited, which found that 2 daily tablespoons of hempseed oil improved atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) better than the same amount of olive oil. The researchers suggest it may be because of the gamma linoleic acid content of hempseeds, an omega 6 fatty acid that paradoxically appears to have an overall anti-inflammatory effect. Instead of downing the oil, as always I’d suggest eating the whole food–hempseeds–directly (same with flaxseeds, see my video Just the Flax Ma’am). And the final study, “Anaphylaxis to ingestion of hempseed” soundly debunks the wikipedia claim that “In fact, there are no known allergies to hemp foods.”

  • Vera Springate

    Based on comment in this video fish isn’t safe to consume because it comes with mercury, toxins and what not.  Does this pertain to both farmed and wild fish of any kind?  F.e. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site says Alaskan wild salmon is “OK” to eat…  Is it not OK?

    • DrDons

       I would not eat fish or shellfish. Of course some fish contain less mercury, arsenic, dioxins, pesticides, endocrine disrupters than others but they all contain cholesterol and saturated fat. Even the Alaskan Salmon contain contaminants… remember everything that we flush or dump into our rivers ends up in the oceans where it circulates. As a physician if I recommend supplemental EPA/DHA to a patient I always recommend a plant based option see (Algae-Based DHA vs. Flax). In addition to improved human health the health of our oceans ecosystems also benefit from a reduction in the number of fish caught and of course the fish appreciate it.

  • Maguccichild

    What is the best nutritional way to combat eczema, in children?  

  • Jesse

    take out all dairy if youre consuming it and have eczema.

  • carol

    Other than being vegan, how do I avoid sinus, upper respiratory infections and pneuomenia?

  • Johanna

    I love your daily videos and look forward to them each day.
    Thank you for the work you do.

  • Krissy

    Do you have information on adult environmental (trees, grass, etc.) allergy relief/prevention?

  • Youcef

    International congress on Allergy in Berlin (2006) unanimously validated a fact established in the 70s by French doctor André Gernez. According to this “hygiene theory”, the rise in asthma and allergies is a consequence of birth in modern countries occuring 99% in hospitals. If you cover the eyes of a newborn mouse for only a few hours, it remains blind for life. The same *concept* applies to human organogenesis: the immune system’s recognition and tolerance to foreign entities (dust, blood of a different group, etc…) is possible in newborns but is short-lived. The longer newborns spend in hospitals or in cities and artificially clean environments, the higher the incidence of asthma/allergies. Like every function in organogenesis, if it is sollicited with the right timing, it end up being permanently sealed and fixed for life. Asthma and allergies are primarily a matter of being rapidly exposed a variety of potential allergens immediately to shortly after birth. Statistics or rural vs urban rates of allergy/asthma confirm this, and the length of stay in hospitals after birth is correlated with a higher incidence of allergy/asthma.

  • Katherine

    I would really appreciate your advice/direction regarding my 5yo daughter. She has a raw egg allergy and the paediatrician has advised that if I feed her cooked egg on a regular basis it is likely she will grow out of the allergy. He has also warned if I don’t do this, there is a chance she could (at any stage) have an anaphalactic reaction if accidentally exposed to raw egg. I’m trying to research the evidence of these claims so I can make the best informed decision for my child- but its hard. I would be so grateful for any advice or further reading you could recommend to help me with my investigation.

  • Becky

    Any comments about Salicylate acid sensitivity and the Feingold diet?

  • AndrewJA

    Hi everyone, does anyone on here have any experience of or knowledge about ‘Oral Allergy Syndrome’?

    I started off in life with milk and nut allergies (and bad hay fever). Although my milk allergy appears to have subsided over the years, my nut allergy has increase in severity and I now have to constantly carry epipens.

    About a year (or two) ago I started to develop unpleasant symptoms when eating vegetables.

    While I have always loved vegetables, I don’t eat any fruit, which until recently I had put down to the deep routed dislike I feel when thinking about eating any.

    As my issues with vegetables became more noticeable, I started to consider more carefully where my dislike of fruit stems from. It is apparent to me I have always experienced a unpleasant reaction when eating it. As a child I had no real idea about food allergies (apart from the fact I had to drink soya milk and avoid nuts) and I therefore just thought I didn’t like fruit. Upon reflection it was the reaction I experienced I didn’t like, not the fruit itself.

    I am now, at 26, left with reactions to both fruit and vegetables.

    I have been to my GP and two allergy teams who frankly are at a loss as to what is going on. Their latest diagnosis is that I have Oral Allergy Syndrome with some extended reaction in my gut/other areas of my body – but the mechanism for the latter part is unknown. The sum total of their advice was to avoid all offending foodstuffs and take antihistamines twice a day. They also suggested cooking all food thoroughly (while this does mitigate some of the initial reaction I have, it does not seem to affect the long term symptoms).

    Does anyone have any experience/advice they could offer me?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Wow Andrew my sympathies for you, that doesn’t sound easy. I am afraid I’d have to suggest seeing a dietitian and working with your doctors. Have you been told you have an allergy or genetic defect that prevents you from eating fructose? Some folks have genes that make fructose dangerous. If you are aware of any allergies to certain foods then I too suggest avoiding. If cooking helps then great at least you have something on your side. Sorry I cannot help more I am just not certain or familiar with oral allergy syndrome if you want some dietitian recommendations let me know.

  • Annetha

    Sounds like fiber (soluble especially?) and Vitamin A are important for young (mice at least) to avoid food allergies (peanut at least):

    Tan et al. Dietary fiber and bacterial SCFA enhance oral tolerance and protect against food allergy through diverse cellular pathways. Cell Reports, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.047