Health

Allergies Bothering You? Your Birth Date May Be To Blame

You may have your birthday to thank for your sniffling and sneezing.

Did you know that your birth month has an impact on whether you are likely to develop allergies?

Research published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that people born in the fall and winter are more likely to have allergies than people born in the spring and summer. Why is this, you ask? Scientists have been asking the same question for a while, and new research has finally uncovered the answer.

Each of us has unique markers on our DNA, and these epigenetic marks determine things like our weight, height and our risk for disease, and they can also determine our risk for allergies, it turns out. Certain external factors such as birth season and environmental exposures are associated with certain epigenetic marks and can alter gene expression.

New research from England’s University of Southampton found that certain markers called DNA methylation are consistently associated with season of birth, which affects gene expression and provides a potential link to someone’s increased risk of asthma and allergies, including seasonal allergies or allergies to food. Interestingly enough, these markers aren’t present at birth, but they are present in kids as young as 8 years old. This means these epigenetic markers arise after birth or even as a result of one’s environment.

There are a few theories as to why your birth month could so strongly affect gene expression, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Gabrielle Lockett. She hypothesizes it could have something to do with sunlight levels in each season, fluctuating levels of pollen and allergens between seasons, and even different types of seasonal produce.

More research is needed to know for sure, but in the meantime, if you were born in the fall or winter, you can blame your birthday for all your sneezing and sniffles.