Functional medicine dysbiosisA new study from Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba demonstrated how the changes in intestinal bacteria of infants can predict future development of food allergies or asthma.

This study was published in the February edition of the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy. Researchers revealed that infants with a lower diversity of gut bacteria at three months of age are at a higher risk to become sensitized to foods such as milk, egg or peanut by the time they reach one year of age. Infants who developed food allergies also had a dysbiosis specifically associated with the bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae and Bacteroidaceae

“We hope to develop new ways of preventing or treating allergies, possibly by modifying the gut microbiota,” according the Dr. Azad, lead author and researcher at the University of Manitoba.

The study looked at data from 166 infants in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study. This study involved more than 3,500 families and their newborn infants across Canada.

Researchers say the information on gut bacterial patterns during infancy can serve as a biomarker for future disease. This does not necessarily mean the children will progress to full-blown food allergies in later life.

There are definitely a few variables that may contribute to the infant’s gut microbiome at this early age. Cesarean delivery may affect the early diversity of intestinal bacteria. The gastrointestinal tract of infants becomes colonized immediately after birth with environmental microorganisms mainly from the mother. There is strong evidence that suggests that the early composition of the microbiota of infants plays an important role for the development of the immune system. The intestinal microbiota of infants delivered by cesarean delivery appears to have less diversity and is characterized by an absence of Bifidobacteria species than the microbiota of vaginally delivered infants. In addition, mothers using formula instead of breast milk is another factor. Breast milk is an early stimulator of the intestinal flora and lacking this dietary support may be a contribution to food sensitization. In these circumstances, a probiotic may be considered.

Source: M. B. Azad, T. Konya, D. S. Guttman, C. J. Field, M. R. Sears, K. T. HayGlass, P. J. Mandhane, S. E. Turvey, P. Subbarao, A. B. Becker, J. A. Scott, A. L. Kozyrskyj.Infant gut microbiota and food sensitization: associations in the first year of life. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2015; 45 (3): 632 DOI: 10.1111/cea.12487

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