New research suggests that sensitivity to common food allergens, such as dairy and peanuts, may be an unrecognized cause of heart disease, with an increased risk of cardiovascular death even in individuals without apparent food allergies. The study, conducted by UVA Health scientists and collaborators, analyzed thousands of adults and found that those producing antibodies in response to dairy and other foods had an elevated risk of cardiovascular-related death, independent of traditional risk factors. The strongest link was observed with cow’s milk, but allergens like peanuts and shrimp also showed significance. The study introduces the first connection between IgE antibodies to common foods and an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, though it doesn’t conclusively prove causation. Approximately 15% of adults produce IgE antibodies, and the strongest link with cardiovascular death was found in those who had the antibodies but continued to consume the food regularly, suggesting they didn’t have a severe food allergy. The researchers propose further studies to better understand the implications before recommending changes in managing food allergies or heart disease.