According to a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers identified mechanisms by which a common class of gut-bacteria (Clostridia) protect against the development of food allergies. This break-through finding will aid the development of specific probiotic therapies to prevent and treat food allergies in the future.

 

The studies discussed in this paper infer that modern hygienic or dietary practices may play a role by disturbing the body’s natural bacterial composition. In recent years, food allergy rates among children have risen sharply — increasing approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011 — and studies have shown a correlation to antibiotic and antimicrobial use.

 

According to study senior author Cathryn Nagler, PhD,”…antibiotic overuse, high fat diets, caesarean birth, removal of common pathogens and even formula feeding have affected the microbiota with which we’ve co-evolved.”

 

This sensitization to food allergens could be reversed, however, by reintroducing a mix of Clostridia bacteria back into the mice. Reintroduction of another major group of intestinal bacteria, Bacteroides, failed to alleviate sensitization, indicating that Clostridia have a unique, protective role against food allergens.

 

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