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New study connects allergies to gut microbes

A new study revealed that gut health in infants may be linked to asthma and allergies.

Could a person's risk of acquiring allergies start when he or she is born? According to a new study published in Nature Medicine and conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, that very well could be the case. And it all has to do with gut health and microbes.

The authors found that babies at risk of developing allergies had molecules that actually reduced the amount of a specific immune cell. This cell prevents a person from developing allergies

By better understanding when a person first shows signs of developing allergies and asthma, scientists have a better chance of discovering cures.

"If we are to prevent disease development, we need to intervene early," said Susan Lynch, a UCSF associate professor of medicine, according to Science Daily. "Currently, children are typically six or seven years old when they are diagnosed with asthma, which has no cure and has to be managed through medication. But if the genesis of the disease is visible as a disruption of gut microbiota in the very earliest stages of postnatal life, it raises an exciting question: could we reengineer the community of microbes in at-risk infants to prevent allergic asthma from developing?"

Christine Cole Johnson, chair of public health sciences in the Henry Ford Health System, said that scientists have been trying to distinguish why some children have allergies and asthma and some don't.

"It seems that the microbial communities within the body could be the keystone to understanding this and a number of different immune diseases," said Johnson.

While we're still a long ways away from a cure for asthma and allergies, there are still some ways people can manage them. They should visit an allergy doctor, take allergy medicine regularly, clean their homes and office consistently and avoid going outside during peak allergy hours.

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