Can you treat food allergies with probiotics? Turns out, you can by: Arsenio Toledo for Natural News
According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization, around 32 million Americans – one in 10 adults and one in 13 children – suffer from food allergies. Worse yet, around 200,000 people each year require emergency medical care due to allergic reactions to food. FARE rightfully categorizes this as a “food epidemic,” especially since the prevalence of food allergies among children has increased by over 50 percent in the last two decades.
Fortunately, one study has found that boosting the amount of certain types of good gut bacteria in the body may protect people against food allergies. This study was conducted by scientists from the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Lack of gut bacteria can lead to allergic reactions
For their study, the team collected stool samples from 56 young patients who were dealing with food allergies and 98 patients who weren’t (control group). They found that the stools collected from the food allergy patients contained a different set of bacteria than the samples from the allergy-free group.
The researchers then extracted fecal bacteria from the stool samples and transplanted them into mice who were suffering from egg allergies. Interestingly, the researchers found that the animals that received bacteria from the control group did not exhibit an allergic reaction when fed small doses of protein from chicken eggs.
With the help of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the team isolated the specific bacteria that protected the mice from allergic reactions. They identified two particularly beneficial bacterial strains: Clostridiales and Bacteroidales. These “good bacteria” are immune-shaping microbes that help prepare a child’s immune system to accept certain foods.
While the researchers only studied stool samples from children, they are hopeful that their findings will also be applicable to adults who are suffering from food allergies. (Related: Breastfeeding and food allergies: Moms who eat the most common allergy-causing foods and breastfeed provide their babies with protection.)
Speaking about the study, Talal Chatila, one of the study authors and the director of the Food Allergy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that he and his colleagues were able to suppress allergic reactions in adult mice by introducing good bacteria isolated from the stool samples of children without food allergies.
This finding suggests that consuming probiotics, particularly a specialized blend of bacteria, may help reinforce the immune system of people with food allergies. According to Chatila, this will help “reset their immune system in favor of tolerance.”
Other benefits of probiotics
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that, when consumed, provide people with a variety of health benefits. These useful microbes can be found in fermented food products or in health supplements.
As was shown in the study, probiotics may be able to help people deal with food allergies. Probiotics can also improve their gut health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in their digestive system.
However, these aren’t the only health benefits associated with the consumption of probiotics. Here are other notable benefits: (h/t to Healthline.com)
- They help people lose weight and belly fat.
- They improve heart health by helping lower the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood.
- They help reduce the symptoms of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, stress and memory problems.
- They can boost immune function by promoting the production of natural antibodies that can fight off infections.
- They can help treat or prevent diarrhea.
- They help reduce the symptoms of bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.