Breastfeeding may lower infant's allergy risk

the Clinical Advisor take:

Breastfeeding influences an infant’s immune system development and susceptibility to allergies and asthma by what’s in their gut, according to research presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Houston.

The findings advance the hygiene hypothesis theory that early childhood exposure to microorganisms affects the immune system’s development and onset of allergies, noted Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, MPH, of Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences in a press release.

To evaluate whether breastfeeding and maternal and birth factors had any effect on a baby’s gut microbiome and allergic and asthma outcomes, the scientists used data from the Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study (WHEALS) birth cohort. The investigators analyzed stool samples from infants aged one month and six months.

Breastfed infants aged one month to six months had distinct microbiome compositions compared with non-breastfed babies, reported the investigators. Breastfed babies aged one month were at decreased risk of developing allergies to pets. Children with asthma who had nighttime coughing or flare-ups had a distinct microbiome composition during the first year of life.

“The research is telling us that exposure to a higher and more diverse burden of environmental bacteria and specific patterns of gut bacteria appear to boost the immune system’s protection against allergies and asthma,” concluded Johnson.

Breastfeeding may lower infant’s allergy risk
Breastfeeding may lower infant’s allergy risk

DETROIT — Henry Ford Hospital researchers say that breastfeeding and other factors influence a baby's immune system development and susceptibility to allergies and asthma by what's in their gut.

The striking findings from a series of studies further advance the so-called hygiene hypothesis theory that early childhood exposure to microorganisms affects the immune system's development and onset of allergies, says Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and principal research investigator.

The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in the gastrointestional, or GI, tract, and the human body has billions of these microbes.
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