(NaturalPath) According to a study out of UC San Francisco and the Henry Ford Health system in Detroit and published in Nature Medicine, the microbes living in a baby’s gut during its first month in childhood. The research links a particular pattern of microbes in the guts of one-month-old infants to a three-fold higher risk of developing allergic reactions by age two and asthma by age four. They find that the perturbed microbial ecosystem present in these at-risk babies produces molecules that reduce the abundance of a key type of immune cell known to help prevent allergy. They surmise that having fewer of these cells leads to a hyperactive immune system and eventually to chronic asthmatic inflammation of the lungs.
“If we are to prevent disease development, we need to intervene early,” said one researcher. “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 re-engineer the community of microbes in at-risk infants to prevent allergic asthma from developing?”
While numerous studies show that a variety of factors such as breastfeeding, vaginal births (as opposed to C-sections) and even having dogs in the household during the first year of life are all associated with protective effects against allergies and asthma.
Another researcher said, “We have been working for over a decade, trying to figure out why some children get asthma and allergies 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.”
So be aware of the ramifications of gut microbiome health on the risk of allergy and asthma health.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.
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