A baby’s gut bacteria predicts future allergy and asthma?

A new study from Canadian has found that changes in intestinal bacteria of infants that can predict future development of food allergies or asthma.

The study found that babies with a fewer number of different bacteria in their gut at three months of age are more likely to become sensitized to foods such as milk, egg or peanut by the time they are one year old. Infants who developed food sensitization also had altered levels of two specific types of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae and Bacteroidaceae, compared to infants who didn’t.

A quote from one author of the study:

“Using DNA techniques to classify bacteria in the Scott and Guttman laboratories at the University of Toronto, we obtained information on the different types of ‘good’ bacteria present in infant stool collected at three months of age and then at one year of age,” says Anita Kozyrskyj, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and senior author of the study. “We were able to then see which bacteria present at three months predicted the development of food sensitization at one year, as measured by a skin reaction test to the food.”

The study investigated 166 infants in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.

Researchers say the data on gut bacterial patterns during infancy can serve as a biomarker for future disease.

“It is something that one can measure that indicates increased risk of food sensitization by one year of age,” says Kozyrskyj.

Both Kozyrskyj and Azad, who is also a research scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, caution that the results don’t necessarily mean the children will progress to full-blown food allergies in later life.

“At the end of the day, we want to know if infants who show changes to normal gut bacteria composition will go on to develop food or other allergies, or even asthma,” says Kozyrskyj.

Christian Bates comment:

Personally I have found this to be true clinically. I virtually always recommend a baby probiotic for the infants I treat as I have seen enough scientific evidence to prove that the future health of a baby can be improved by making sure their gut bacteria is healthy.

In my clinic I use Biogaia probiotics, available here:

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