Infant food allergies can cause lots of stress for both parents and babies, and are sometimes hard to diagnose and treat. Rather than having to learn to cope with babies who are allergic to peanuts, pollen or who experience other common food reactions, wouldn’t it be better to prevent the onset of allergies altogether?
A New Study Shows Probiotics Prevent Allergies
Recent research shows that this may be a real possibility. Dr. Erick Forno of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has shown that there may be a strong link between taking probiotics while pregnant and lowering the risk for infant food allergies.
New analysis conducted by Forno and his team was based on a double blind study in which an experimental group of 25 mothers and infants supplied with probiotics were compared with a control group who were given a placebo during pregnancy through the child’s first year. The incidences of children developing common food allergies in both groups were compared.
Results revealed that the group given the probiotic supplements showed a 12% lower risk for developing common food allergies! Dr. Forno indicated that further research should be conducted before advising the public to use probiotics in pregnancy in order to prevent food allergies, but the evidence based on this study seems to indicate a strong positive correlation, which is something many of us already knew all along!
A Cleaner Environment Could Cause Food Allergies
Dr. Forno made reference to the “hygiene hypothesis”, which says that modern, cleaner environments prevents infants from developing the immune system. This is due to the fact that without exposure to probiotics, healthy gut flora, bacteria, infectious diseases, parasites, and microorganisms -the immune system does not learn what to fight and what to accept, which can lead to many different kinds of allergies.
The analysis conducted by the research team at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh therefore suggests that exposing children to probiotics in the womb and in the first year of life helps to strengthen the developing immune system, helping to prevent the onset of allergic reactions.
We tend to be afraid of disease in our culture and overprotective to the point of destroying our own defenses. Early exposure to probiotics, as well as taking other measures — such as allowing our kids to play in the dirt and avoiding antibacterial soaps, and eating lots of yogurt — can be helpful as well in preventing or possibly even reversing food allergies. And, as this study shows, taking probiotics during pregnancy can reduces risks as well.
Photo credit: Pregnancy Portrait