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Food Allergy Awareness Week
May 13th, 2019
Awareness of food allergies is increasing and many of us know at least one person who is affected by food allergies. Scientific understanding about how this this condition comes about is developing and I thought I would share with you two recent studies, on the same theme, that shed some light on the subject.
The first study comes from a collaborative project by some US and Italian researchers who wanted to prove their theory that healthy infants have different intestinal bacteria compared to that found in infants with allergic disease. In their experiment they transplanted some gut microbes from the healthy infants into mice and found that the animals were protected from an allergic reaction to cow’s milk. However, when gut microbes from the infants who were allergic to cow’s milk were transplanted into the mice, the mice did not receive the same protection and suffered an allergic reaction. The researchers concluded therefore that gut bacteria does seem to have a critical role to play in the development of food allergies.
The second study, published last year, looked at whether probiotics, given very early on in life, can prevent allergic disease developing in children. To do this the researchers gave pregnant women a course of probiotics from week 36 until the birth of their baby and then the babies were given the same probiotics until they were 6 months old. At age 13 the children were assessed and the incidence of allergic disease looked at. Interestingly, taking probiotics made no difference to those children who had been born by normal vaginal delivery but did significantly protect children who had been born by caesarean section, from eczema and allergic disease. It is well known that children born via caesarean section are more at risk of allergic disease.
By Nicky Seabrook, our Nutritionist
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