Apr 18 2021

Keeping your Gut Healthy is the First Line of Defense against Allergies

Published by at 1:13 pm under Allergies,Immune System,probiotic supplements

Keeping your gut healthy is the first line of defense against allergies

A diverse microbiome is a key to keeping both environmental and food allergies under control.

 

Last time we looked at allergies, both environmental and food as well as the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance. We also looked at why the body reacts the way it does to allergies versus a food intolerance and the symptoms and dangers of both. We covered such food intolerances as lactose, alcohol, and gluten and how while the connection between the gut and allergies and intolerances is connected, it is not due to a gut allergy. Rather the gut can help mediate how the body responds to an allergen. Food intolerances affect the gut, and the health of the gut can be improved by avoiding these foods. . Today we will look further into why there has been an increase in food allergies and intolerances and how we can limit our allergies through gut therapies for future generations.*

Microbiome diversity starts at birth

Between birth and the age of three years old is when a person’s microbiome develops the most diversity, then continues throughout childhood and levels off into adulthood. From the time a baby is delivered,  microorganisms coating the birth canal bathe the infant in a “microbial bath” and begin establishing the microbiome. Vaginal delivery has been shown to offer increased microbial diversity for babies as compared to those babies delivered by Caesarean section, providing an additional boost against allergies later in life. (1,2)*

Breast milk also contains essential microbes that are directly transmitted from mother to child, not only from the milk but from the skin-to-skin transmission that takes place during breastfeeding. Such bacteria as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria as well as sugars known as oligosaccharides which act as a prebiotic to these microbes, help in developing the infant’s immune system. The use of antibiotics during pregnancy and infancy has been linked to an increased risk of allergies later in life. While sometimes this is unavoidable due to infection, antibiotics should only be used if absolutely necessary during pregnancy and infancy (1,2)*

In the late 1980s, the Hygiene Hypothesis was proposed, stating that “…the greater our exposure to microorganisms, the lower our risk of developing allergies…” This referred to factors that affect your level of exposure to microorganisms which at low levels we could tolerate and help to build immune defenses against. These environmental exposures included being raised with pets, having older siblings, playing outside, or living in an urban versus a rural setting.  “…This was because ancient humans, during the evolution of our relationship with microorganisms, derived lots of benefits from a symbiotic relationship with species that existed in the same environments as human hunter-gatherer and farming communities, surrounded by mud and vegetation…” 1*

The microbes which we are exposed to as children persist in our guts, forming an integral part of our immune system’s control against foreign agents.  In contrast, modern environments full of skyscrapers, concrete, and less open areas don’t house these same diverse microbes people were once exposed to living on farms and playing outdoors. Things have become “overly hygienic”, and this can lead to compromising our immune systems, which overreacts to allergens as if they were foreign microbes, causing our bodies to kick into defense mode. A year of quarantine and incessant hand washing has not helped, (unless it has forced you more out into nature). While important against the coronavirus, we are less exposed to other, less harmful bacteria as well. 1*

As many allergies are present due to a lack of certain microbes, this is where supplementation of Probiotics comes in. Researchers at Boston University have “…recently identified the species of gut bacteria, Clostridiales and Bacteroidetes, that protect against the development of food allergies in children. When these microbes were given to mice, it increased the mice’s tolerance to food allergens and reversed their pre-existing food allergies…”(1,3)*

 There is also promising research in regards to Celiac Disease.  “…There is research showing a possible decreased risk of celiac disease with breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding when gluten is introduced into the child’s diet. A previous history of intestinal infections and the state of natural bacteria in the gut may influence the development of celiac disease. Additionally, wheat has been modified to contain higher amounts of gluten and this, alongside the increased ingestion of wheat (bread) in developed countries, may contribute to the increasing incidence of celiac disease…”.4*

The hope is that in the future, we can give particular bacteria to infants and children whose microbiomes show they are predisposed to forming allergies to help prevent these allergies from developing at all. This is already being done in one study. “…Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, identified the species of bacteria in the human infant gut that protect against food allergies, finding changes associated with the development of food allergies and an altered immune response. In preclinical studies in a mouse model of food allergy, the team found that giving an enriched oral formulation of five or six species of bacteria found in the human gut protected against food allergies and reversed established disease by reinforcing tolerance of food allergens…” (1,3)*

In the future, researchers are hoping to identify bacteria that will fight against food allergies through microbiome technology and continued research. The good news is that many children outgrow food allergies. Three-quarters of children with milk or egg allergies outgrow them by 16. Twenty percent of children with peanut allergies outgrow them as well.1*

What can be done now if you have allergies?

Diets high in fiber, regular exercise, and taking Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical Probiotics Consortia™ are all ways to help fortify the gut and boost the immune system to fight against allergies. “…The stuffy nose that is often caused by seasonal allergies — was shown to help, with Lactococcuslactis protecting against bacteria that cause pneumonia (a severe lung infection) by increasing the rate of clearance of these pathogenic microbes from the lungs…”1*

During pregnancy, a balanced and diverse diet that includes plenty of fiber and oligosaccharides through such foods as grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds (all excellent sources of fiber, including prebiotic fibers that also benefit the gut microbiome) may help protect babies against developing allergies later in life. 1*

And lastly, regular exercise is linked to greater gut microbial diversity, yet another excellent reason to make physical activity part of your life.*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/microbiome-gut-health-and-allergies/
  2. https://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/gut-microbiota-and-allergies/
  3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190624111545.htm
  4. https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/celiac-disease

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