What Causes FPIES?


What causes FPIES?

FPIES Mama’s often wonder this. Being Mom’s, we’re only too inclined to pile guilt onto our heads. We want to know if something we ate, drank, or did while pregnant made our kids sick.

Fortunately, we have two Mama’s in our group who have twin children. In each set of twins, one has FPIES and one does not. So obviously it wasn’t something either Mama did while pregnant that caused FPIES.

After ruling out maternal fault, we’re still left wondering at the cause. The honest answer? Nobody knows what causes FPIES.

At this point, the medical  establishment is busy trying to learn the mechanics of how FPIES works in the body; until they know exactly how things go awry in an FPIES child, they will have a hard time discerning the reason why everything went “wonky”.

Furthermore, FPIES is a rare disease. Trying to find funding for medical research is challenging at best; it is almost impossible to find funding for research into a condition that does not affect a large population.

*As a side note, that is one of the things the FPIES Foundation is hoping to accomplish. If we can raise enough money to fund certain research projects, we can hire scientists and doctors to look into some of the questions we all have about FPIES. If you make tax-deductible donations to help with your taxes, please consider donating here. There are also other ways to contribute that don’t require writing a check – please take a look! Thank you!

So we’re left in the dark, managing the illness without any explanation of the cause; which potentially means some of the accepted management practices are actually not helpful, once we learn more about the disease. Frustrating.

I have my own theory about the cause of FPIES. Take it with a grain of salt, of course, but if I were a scientist or medical researcher, these would be the hypotheses I would attempt to prove or disprove.

1. Genetics

Based on the twin cases mentioned above, obviously genetics isn’t the only explanation of FPIES. However, there could be a genetic component to FPIES (and other severe intolerances/allergies).

Simply from anecdotal evidence from our own families and other FPIES Mama’s, it seems as though there is at least some tendency towards allergies in most FPIES families. It may be as mild as hay fever during spring, or as severe as an anaphylactic reaction, but someone, somewhere in the genetic ancestry of these kids has a tendency of allergies.

Many FPIES Mama’s are independently looking into the possibility that the MTHFR Gene Mutation may play a part in their childs FPIES. I’ve also seen Mama’s with Fructose Malabsorbative children investigating this possibility, and Mama’s of children with myriad health concerns who are treating their children with the GAPS protocol.

I have not looked into this myself, but from what I understand this gene mutation has been linked to a laundry list of chronic, serious health concerns. It makes sense that it, or something like it, may be playing a part in FPIES.

2. Method of Childbirth/Antibiotic Use In Childbirth/Damaged Gut Flora

There is a growing body of evidence that our bodies require balanced gut flora in order to maintain proper health. This is a fascinating (though technical) article about how interlinked our immune system is to our gut microbiotia.

Here’s where that gets tricky: our gut flora is established at birth, primarily from our mother’s own gut flora.

So a child delivered via C-section avoids passing through the vaginal canal and does NOT pick up a sizable portion of their mothers gut flora.

A mother given antibiotics during childbirth has damaged her own gut flora (antibiotics don’t care if you’re good bacteria or bad bacteria; they kill indiscriminately) and passes that damaged gut flora on to her child.

A child fed primarily or solely formula misses out on some very good gut flora perk-ups along the way.

Think of your friends and family. In this day and age, out of all those people, what percentage gave birth vaginally, without antibiotics, and breastfed for a year?

Right. Hardly – if any – at all. We’re a “sanitize-it, sterilize-it, antibiotic-it” culture these days, and we are passing that on to our children.

This may not be a major cause of FPIES; surely there are some FPIES children out there who were born completely naturally to a holistic mother who eschewed antibiotics her entire life…but I believe it plays at least a small part in the development of FPIES in our kids.

If you’re interested in more information, here are some interesting links about gut flora at birth:

Gut Homeostasis and Understanding FPIES
Caesarean Delivery May Affect the Early Biodiversity of Intestinal Bacteria
Newborns Gut Bacteria Differ by Delivery, Breastfeeding
Acquisition of Gut Flora in the Infant

3. GMO’s

It’s no secret I loathe GMO’s, the companies that create them, and  the people who work at the companies who create them. (Yes, Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer, I’m looking at you, you sleezeoids.)

Finally, in spite of The Evil Conglomerate’s ignorance campaigns, data is coming out that shows that GMO’s cause permanent harm to our cells and gut flora.

Furthermore, data is also coming out that proves glyphosate (aka Round-Up), the weed-killer GMO’s are designed to tolerate, also causes such damage to our bodies and flora. Read here and here for some really good supportive data.

Here are two reports of an actual INCREASE in glyphosate use in farmland over the past two decades: Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the U.S. – the First Sixteen Years and this press release from Friends of the Earth – Europe.

So now you’ve got kids with a tendency towards some form of allergy, with likely damaged or incompletely formed gut flora (and compromised immune systems) due to our modern medical practices, being swamped with chemicals that damage gut flora, cell function, and who-knows-what-else in our bodies.


4. Bad Luck

But that doesn’t necessarily explain it. While I think the evidence proves GMO’s, overuse of antibiotics, and weed-killers are outright bad for our bodies, none of those have been proven to actually CAUSE FPIES. In fact, due to lack of research, NOTHING has been absolutely linked to cause FPIES.

So some people think there just might be a tad bit of “bad luck” thrown in to explain why our kids suffer this way.

The yellow tube is the feeding tube going into his nose. The O2 canula also went into his nose. He spent a lot of time trying to rub his nose.

Zac last summer at Children’s Hospital during his first  – and hopefully only – FPIES hospitalization. The yellow tube is the feeding tube going into his nose. The O2 canula also went into his nose. He spent a lot of time trying to rub his nose.

However, I happen to agree with the Food Allergy Bitch: these kids – FPIES and traditional IgE allergic kids – are the canaries in the coal mine. Genetics and Bad Luck don’t really play as big a part in it as people (and Monsanto) would like to think.

These children are, for whatever reason, the first – or second – wave of What The Future Of Our Health looks like if we continue on our current path.

Because it’s not only FPIES we’re talking about here. There are many conditions that are increasing in frightening numbers: EoE, typical food allergies, autism, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac, asthma…Lord, the list just goes on and on!

While all different disorders, what do they have in common? The immune system. 

The immune systems in our children are wigging out, and nobody knows exactly why.

I have my opinion. (Monsanto is evil.) What do you think?


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20 Responses to What Causes FPIES?

  1. Ruth Pinnell says:

    I, too, dislike Monsanto (and their unindicted co-conspirators) – even though they are a hometown company and my brother is a CPA there. I despise GMOs. I can’t stand suspecting that all these health issues that have seemingly exploded within one single generation are quite possibly related to what we have done to our food supply. And it seriously ticks me off that BigAg insists on keeping the waters murky and the labeling standards opaque. That’s just the tip of my iceberg on this rant, but I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

    • Carrie says:

      Wow, Ruth. Such kindred spirits! I don’t know what to say about your brother…mainly I can’t imagine how you guys get around your dislike for his employer and his employment with the Evil Ones. Must make for fun holiday meals!

      I’ve heard there is going to be a march on Monsanto AT Monsanto HQ in October…have you heard that, too? I’m only about 5 hours away; it’s in the back of my mind that I might make us go. 😉

      Oh, and feel free to rant away! I always seem to learn something new from other GMO ranters!

  2. dkaj says:

    Cradle Rocking Momma,
    Loved your post. It is nice to see others tracking in their minds, many of the same thoughts I have had throughout the past years. And, it is nice to connect with others going through these GI disorders and what their ancestral links are also to all of this. My Dad was a small rural farmer. He’s retired now, and we’ve had lengthy conversations of how farming practices started changing back already in the early 1980’s, if not before then. We’ve talked about the farming crisis that took place in the 80’s when all the crop prices dropped and many small family farmers lost their farms. My Dad believes this was all a deliberate move to shut down the small family farms in order to have “corporations” produce more food to feed the growing populations. It would be interesting to look at statistics to see if the population of the US and the world has actually increased that much in the past 100 years. I suspect it has not, considering most couples are not having large families anymore like they used to. It’s rare to see families of 6, 8, 10 or more these day. The majority have 2 to 3 children. Farmers were forced to change the way they farmed, to become corporations if they wanted to save their farms and adopt farming practices to produce more food through the now conventional ways of farming which included changing the seeds to withstand roundup. I personally watched many families loose their farms because of this. These were farms and acres of land that was handed down through many generations. It was very sad. And of course, the only people benefiting from all of this, are the ones on top lining their wallets at the sacrifice of our countries’ children and our children’s children.

    • Carrie says:

      What a story about your Dad! I think he’s right; that it was a deliberate move. You’ve brought up some interesting points. One day when I have the time I want to look into some of the things you question. You’re probably correct about most of your theories! Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Malin says:

    My youngest had fpies to rice and oat (he is 31/2 now and just recently passed both, yay!!!. Until the last six months or so I always thought that he had a bad gut in general. Stinky stools, bad gas etc, tummy aches. Then all of a sudden things have gotten a lot better. As if his system finally matured a bit. I breasted exclusively and actually didn’t stop until very recently because I wanted to make sure he was getting as much help from me as possible with probiotics thru the breastmilk etc. I am very interested in the link to antibiotics. I have birth to him vaginally but was put on intravenous antibiotics during the delivery and I would imagine this passes over into the colostrum. My son was also on at least one course of antibiotics before his first birthday (which research has shown predisposes you to allergies). Although his gut is better (though still sensitive) he still has virally induced asthma/wheezing, which I hear is common among fpies kids.
    It would be interesting to put together a study that takes inventory of all these factors in fpies kids and families. I am an academic psychologist by trade, so not medicine, but familiar with designing research studies. I would be happy to collaborate on a project if there was interest in the community.

    • Carrie says:

      Hi, Malin! Thank you for sharing.

      It seems like most people wanted to comment via FB, and mostly in the FPIES Boards! But from the comments today, it seems that everyone is curious about the root causes of FPIES, and every person had a different story to tell. Some pointed out that they had no antibiotics while pregnant or during delivery, and their children had no antibiotics, either.

      I would personally be more interested in how many antibiotics a woman took BEFORE she even got pregnant; sort of a “how bad was our gut flora to begin with” approach.

      This has possibilities, Malin! Let me ask around a bit…

    • dkaj says:

      Hi Malin,
      There are many different GI disorder patient sites I could link you to that would get you thousands of participants at your fingertips. They wouldn’t all be FPIES, but all the various GI disorders in general including IBS, Fructose Malabsorption, SIBO, Reflux, Rumination syndrome, Chrons’ Ulceritis colitis, Celiac, PANDA’s, ADD/ADHD/ASD (which I believe stem from the gut) and many others. You’d probably just have to do a questionairre of some type, but I think there would be many people who would love to participate. I know I would!

      Another thing you might want to consider is the antibiotics given to animals (the food we eat) and the steroids being shot into them or put in their ears to get them to grow faster. Then, add on top of this the bleach that is used on the chickens to sterilize them at processing plants, and then Monsanto Its NO Wonder our immune systems are being attacked, especially the ones who have a genetic tendency toward these things.

      On another note, I think a study was done in the last 5 years or so that talked about the Amish people and how they do not suffer from environmental allergies to the extent that the rest of us do. One thing to consider here is that they are not using conventional farming practices and they are drinking raw milk from more grass fed cattle.

      If you decide to pursue this, and would like some help, just let me know. I stay home with my children at this time. I studied psychology and sociology in college, then went on to work in mental health for 5 years, and worked in health care also but on a human resource basis. I do believe I missed my calling though, as I love learning about all of these medical connections and I come from a ancestry where GI disorders and environmental allergies run on both sides and then in my own children. And, unfortunately my kids got my bad gut bacteria.

  4. I had natural childbirth with no antibiotics and my little dude has fpies. Pretty sure ours is the genetic category. I have issues with milk protein and my older son dies as well. He is 3 1/2 now and finally started passing foods. Only avoiding actual milk, oats and rice.

  5. Jenny says:

    Hi – I have twin boys as my 4th and 5th children, who both suffered FPIES reactions, but to different trigger foods. One reacted first to rice cereal at 6months after being exclusively breast fed to that point. He subsequently reacted to potatoes and apple, while his twin whom we thought was in the clear had a classic FPIES episode after introducing chicken! I cut out dairy, soy, egg and all their trigger foods until weaning them at almost 3 years.
    Thankfully at nearly 4 they have both grown out of FPIES completely, but have a lot of gut-based intolerences and are off dairy and cannot have most fruit and vegetables as they end up in a lot of pain.

    The doctors we saw thought it was really strange that they both had it, and to different foods!

    Mine were naturally delivered with no antibiotics.
    All very interesting!

    • Carrie says:

      That is so interesting, Jenny! I bet your doctors were thrown for a loop over that one!

      I’m so happy to hear they’ve outgrown FPIES, but sad to hear they still have issues to deal with. 🙁

      I think we may have stumbled on an interesting topic in the FPIES community…maybe we can actually get some research into this subject. Like you said, your kids were natural delivery with no antibiotics, but still had FPIES. Other Mama’s were like that, so there are probably more variables to consider.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Yes Monsanto is evil ( and so is Dow Chemical and the other companies.) Hey, thanks for linking up to Healing with Food Friday. Your post is perfect for what we are doing.

    • Carrie says:

      I never used the word “evil” to describe anything…until I started learning about Monsanto/Syngenta/Bayer/etc. But evil is really the only word appropriate for what they are all doing.

      Thanks for the invitation to the link-up! I was excited to read some of what you’re doing there. 🙂

  7. GREAT informational post, I appreciate you sharing!! 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    Love the post, keep sharing the word! Down with Monsanto and their GMO chemical poison! Keep the next generation healthy and knowledgable!

  9. WOW. GREAT post!!! I love how you got into the Mama guilt. We all do that to ourselves and it does nothing but drain us of the energy we need to be warriors for our little canaries. Thank you for sharing with Healing With Foods Friday! Please keep these great contributions coming!!!

  10. Noelle says:

    Vaccines cause auto immune disorders. Filled with toxins!

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