food allergies

Probiotics may Help Treat Peanut Allergies

Allergies to peanuts have become such a big problem for adults and kids — from diarrhea and hives to shortness of breath and life-threatening anaphylaxis — many people avoid them altogether.

Despite federal regulations that ensure packaged foods list the presence of the eight major food allergens, including peanuts, paying attention to the fine print on food labels (especially foods bought in bulk) and restaurant menus requires consumers to be constantly vigilant.

You may recall the results of an Australian study conducted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) I posted a while back that found children taking probiotics containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus along with increasing amounts of peanut protein “trained” their immune systems to develop a tolerance to small amounts of peanuts without a problem.

Combining doses of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, with peanut protein would shift the body’s allergic response to one of tolerance, researchers said.

At the time, all but five of the 28 children who received this treatment consumed peanuts with few problems. So, would this protection to severe allergic symptoms last?

Commonly, the benefits of such therapies extend for a short time, and very few patients enjoy this protection over the long term, according to medical experts.

The results of follow-up research with 48 children from the previous study (featured recently in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health) were far better than many expected.

Two-thirds of the kids who were treated with probiotics four years ago and could eat peanuts safely back then were still able to do so.

Even better, more than half of those young patients in the probiotic group were eating 2 grams or more of peanuts at least once or twice a week.

“These children had been eating peanut[s] freely in their diet without having to follow any particular program of peanut intake in the years after treatment was completed,” says lead researcher Dr. Mimi Tang, according to a press release.

“The importance of this finding is that these children were able to eat peanut[s] like children who don’t have peanut [allergies] and still maintain their tolerant state, protected against reactions to peanut[s].”

Now, Australian researchers are hoping to duplicate these impressive results on a larger scale with a larger follow-up study already taking place, says Dr. Tang.

Still, rolling out an effective protocol for patients and doctors could take at least five years if not longer.

Until then, you’ll want to review my tips for avoiding peanut allergens and discuss any strategies to treat them with your family physician first.

infant allergies

Reverse infant milk allergies with probiotics

An estimated 2.5 percent of children under age 3 are allergic to cow’s milk. Overall, milk allergies are the most common food allergy for infants and small children, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Cow’s milk allergy symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening, and should not be confused with lactose intolerance, a condition, while problematic, isn’t fatal.

Most young children eventually outgrow these allergies, according to FARE. Until then, medical experts recommend babies be fed hydrolyzed, casein-based formulas containing altered proteins that are easier and safer for their growing young systems. Moms must keep a vigilant eye on product labels to avoid milk-based ingredients too.

Concerns about milk allergies led scientists from the University of Chicago to find a safer treatment in probiotics, according to a study featured in The ISME Journal.

Researchers tested a probiotic formula containing the proprietary strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) by analyzing and comparing stool samples taken from healthy infants who consumed the probiotic formula and babies given the formula without the probiotic.

Babies with cow’s milk allergies had significantly different compositions of gut bacteria compared to healthy children, which may have had an influence on their development.

Overall, babies whose bodies responded to the probiotic formula had higher amounts of gut bacteria when compared to children who didn’t, developed a similar tolerance.

This tolerance is connected to specific bacterial strains that produce butyrate, a byproduct of the metabolization of fiber providing nourishment for colon lining cells and linked to cancer-fighting benefits.

“The ability to identify bacterial strains that could be used as novel therapeutics for treating food allergies is a fundamental advance,” said Dr. Jack Gilbert, Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study, according to a press release.

Another probiotic formulation containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus was also responsible for providing a safe, long-term solution for treating peanut allergies earlier this year.

With all of this attention on probiotics, it may be just a matter of time before scientists test a non-proprietary strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus like the kind contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior to treat food allergies.

Despite the good news about probiotics treating infant food allergies, always consult with your doctor or pediatrician first so they can provide the proper course of action for your child’s specific health condition.

The gut health mix of young babies may signal food allergies, asthma

The lack of diversity in the gut is a clear sign there are health problems looming, as we’ve seen in recent reports linked to obesity and heartburn drugs. Unfortunately, that reprogramming of human gut diversity may start much earlier, during the very early stages of childhood development before birth due to early exposure to antibiotics.

New research from Canadian scientists at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy has discovered that the lack of gut diversity among babies as young as three months old, may be a warning sign about the early development of asthma or food allergies.

Gut diversity matters

Researchers examined data collected from 166 infants enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. This ambitious study is closely monitoring the health of more than 3,500 families and their newborn infants to provide more knowledge about the genetic and home environmental factors that trigger asthma and allergies.

Scientists used DNA techniques to classify the good bacteria in stool samples taken at three months and age one, then identified which bacteria were present when food allergies began to emerge later in life (based on a skin reaction test to foods).

Overall, only a dozen babies experienced sensitivities to foods. No surprise, infants with less diversity of specific types of gut bacteria—Enterobacteriaceae (too much) and Ruminococcaceae and Bacteroidaceae (not enough)—at three months were more likely to develop allergies to peanuts, eggs and other foods by the time they reached age one.

“It is something that one can measure which indicates increased risk of food sensitization by one year of age,” said Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and senior author of the study in a press release.

Scientists hope to expand the sample size as data comes from other Canadian cities to some 2,500 children across the country, tracking them as they grow up, then re-examining the findings again at ages three and five.

Protect your baby’s gut health

The good news: Protecting and improving the diversity of your baby’s gut health can be as safe and convenient as giving him/her a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior, made from four different strains of beneficial bacteria plus the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.

Each dose of Endomune Advanced Junior features 10 billion CFUs of good bacteria and contains no artificial colorings, dairy products, preservatives or sugar and is certified Kosher and gluten-free.

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