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Asthma/Allergies, are you TOO clean?

A new paper in Nature Medicine discusses the importance of gut bacteria and the connection to allergies and asthma.  What they found was that high levels of IgE antibodies were partially responsible for triggering asthma and allergies.  They were able to increase IgE levels by killing off “good” bacteria in the gut with antibiotics.  This wasn’t necessarily a new discovery, what they did discover was that the normal gut bacteria could actually inhibit the precursor cells which turned into the cell types which caused asthma and allergies.  Having a system work at such an early level and understanding how it works is very important to finding a cure.

From the study: “These findings suggest that, in addition to regulating immune cells in the periphery, commensal-derived signals can alter mammalian hematopoietic programs in the bone marrow to promote or protect against the development of allergic responses.

Source: Nature Medicine  Photo: CC BY 3.0

But more importantly to understanding how we treat our bodies, especially as children, is so important.  We live in an antiseptic age, as children we are scrubbed clean, given antibiotics for every sniffle, have our hands washed, and not allowed to play in the dirt.  There is more and more research every year showing the detrimental effects of all of these lifestyle choices on our immunities.

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