A new study suggests that gut flora prevents food allergy in infants. Up till now, the only effective way to halt food allergy is to avoid the food causing it. The scientists have been trying to seek ways to halt or reverse this allergy in patients.
What is a food allergy?
It is a response to the body’s immune system to a specific food. Problem foods mostly include fish, nuts, milk, soy, and wheat. Mostly it leads to itching, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Symptoms occur soon after eating culprit food. However, in some cases, it takes two or more hours for symptoms to appear. A recent study about human microbes shows that change in gut flora plays a vital role in this case.
What does gut flora mean?
The microbial colonies inside the gut are known as gut flora. It helps to digest those foods that one’s GI can’t digest. The gut flora assists in the production of vitamin B and K. It also plays a barrier effect in the body.
One-third of the gut flora is common in all humans. While the other two third is unique to every person. A plant-based diet can enhance gut flora.
In this study, the research team gave human gut microbes to mice. And, they found that these microbes provide immunity against food allergy. Moreover, in mice these microbes, can reverse this state by increasing the tolerance against food allergens.
Afterward, the team identified microbes in the human gut that cause allergic reactions. And, the ones that provide protection against these reactions. Giving protective microbes as therapy cannot only halt food allergy but can also induce recovery. As these microbes help to reset the immune system.
Also read- Know About The Most Common Food Allergies
The research team collected human fecal samples every four to six months. The samples were from infants with and without food allergies.
The mice sensitized to eggs were receiving microbes from these samples. The mice having microbes from healthy infants were resistant to egg allergy. But those having microbes of affected infants were less immune to allergy.
The team has also performed trials to see if giving protective microbes orally could prevent food allergies. Next, they derived the species of microbes from the human gut that could control food allergies in mice.
These species protect and keep mice resistant to egg allergy. On the contrary, other species don’t provide any protection.
To understand how the gut flora prevents food allergy, the team studied changes in the immune system of both human and mice. As a result, they found two specific microbial species that target important pathways of the immune system.
These species stimulate specific T cells that play a role in suppressing or regulating other immune cells. T cells enhance tolerant responses instead of allergic ones. These effects were evident in both mice and human.
Oral therapy works by giving small amounts of food allergens. And, then slowly increasing its quantity. This method enhances the threshold point for an allergy to occur.
On the other hand, therapy using gut flora prevents food allergy differently. It brings changes in the immune system of the body.
Moreover, this new method can treat food allergies broadly instead of making resistant to a specific allergen. In the future, using gut flora can act as a credible therapy for patient care.