CAN HEALING THE GUT PLAY A PART IN MANAGING ALLERGIES?

Allergies are one of the most common chronic health conditions in the world. 


Symptoms can range from mild to a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Common types are hay fever, eczema, hives, asthma, and food allergy (1). Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common food allergies in children (2). Allergens can be inhaled, ingested, or enter through the skin. (1).

What happens during an allergic reaction?

Allergic reactions begin in your immune system. When dust, mould, or pollen is encountered by a person who is allergic to that substance, the immune system may overreact by producing antibodies that “attack” the allergen. They can cause wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, or abdominal changes.

A function of the immune system is to defend and keep microorganisms, such as certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi, out of the body, and to destroy any infectious microorganisms that invade.


A study with mice with a peanut-allergy, showed a genetic glitch that damages a receptor in immune cells and recognizes microbes. The peanut-allergy mice may have lacked the normal cross talk that takes place between gut microbes and immune cells.

Peanuts provoked anaphylaxis only in mice with a mutated receptor, not in genetically related strains with a normal receptor. The difference disappeared when the scientists wiped out populations of gut bacteria with antibiotics. Then, even normal mice became susceptible to food allergies, implying that bacteria are at the heart of the protection.

There’s a potential explanation: Mice colonized with Clostridia bacteria had more cells that dampens immune responses. The Clostridia mice also produced more of a molecule that strengthens the intestinal lining. A new theory began to emerge: If protective microbes are missing, the gut barrier weakens, allowing food proteins to seep into the bloodstream and potentially trigger allergic responses (3).

If we consider historical trends, as societies modernized, people moved to urban areas, had more babies by caesarean section, took more antibiotics and ate more processed, low-fibre food – all of which shake up microbiomes. The timing of these lifestyle shifts parallels the observed increase in food and other types of allergies, whose steep rise over a generation points to some environmental cause.

Source: Scientific American

Probiotics have been shown to rebuild a disrupted microbiome (4). Ultra Flora Intensive Care in particular may support your gut and therefore immune health.

Speak to your health care provider to see if this product is right for you.

Source: Metagenics

References:

[1] Johns Hopkins Medicine, Allergies and the Immune System, accessed 17/4/2021. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/allergies-and-the-immune-system
[2] Johns Hopkins Medicine, Food Allergies, accessed 17/4/2021.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/food-allergies
[3] Scientific American, Gut Microbes May Be Key To Solving Food Allergies, accessed 17/4/2021. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-microbes-may-be-key-to-solving-food-allergies/#
[4] Metagenics probiotic product, accessed 17/4/2021. https://www.metagenics.com.au/Products/Product/UFIC60

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