Bev Dunne

I was interested to observe recent reports suggesting fewer babies are now becoming allergic. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute believes a 16% drop in allergies may be due to children being exposed to peanuts earlier. Whereas once it was believed children should avoid peanuts until they were older, it has been suggested for some time that babies be introduced to peanuts in their diet within the first 12 months of their life.

Interestingly some time ago I wrote about trials which had been undertaken for treatment of peanut allergies in children, using a combination of the probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and peanut protein.

The trial was undertaken at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne over an 18-month period. At the end of the trial, 82% of the participants were considered to be tolerant to peanuts, compared to only 4% in the placebo group. After the trial, the children who had built up a tolerance to peanuts were encouraged to include peanuts in their daily diet for the next 4 years. It was found two thirds of the treated participants had been able to continue eating peanuts regularly and more than half were eating moderate to large amounts of peanuts regularly.

It has been believed for a sometime that eczema and food allergies may be helped by supplementing with probiotics. There are many strains of probiotics and generally you will find a combination of those strains in a probiotic supplement. However, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus has been one of the most researched strains of probiotic especially when it comes to treating allergies. It is thought Rhamnosus is particularly effective because it adheres to the intestinal gut wall extremely well, allowing the body to clear the way for our body’s other friendly bacteria strains to do their work.

With 1 in 20 children and 2 in 100 adults suffering from food allergies, this is great news.

It has been suggested taking probiotics mimics the exposure to bacteria. Being exposed to different bacteria appears to settle the immune system, thereby reducing the allergies. It is understood, children with allergies have more bad bacteria in their gut and less good bacteria.

When we ingest foods or any other substances our gut has the ability to establish whether these foods or substances are safe or not. Any substance which is determined to be unsafe by our gut is attacked by our immune system. To assist the gut in providing some protection from these bad substances the gut also sets up a wall of defense called the ‘mucosal lining’, made up of a mucous layer, gut cells and gut bacteria. Allergic reactions develop when allergens penetrate this wall of defense and invade our blood stream. By taking probiotics to build up that wall of defense with good bacteria, research has shown there is not only a decrease in allergic reactions in the gut and of course food allergies, there is also improvement in other allergies such as eczema, hay fever and in some cases asthma.

It has been suggested pregnant women taking probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be able to reduce the risk of their child developing eczema.  As eczema is said to be one of the first signs of allergy which can quite often then develop into asthma or other allergies, one would think it would be a good idea for most children and adults to be supplementing with a daily probiotic.

For more information on allergies call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop in North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC for Go Get Healthy every Wednesday at 12.30pm.

  • Soriano V, Peters R, Ponsonby A, Dharmage S, Gurrin L, & Koplin J. Has the prevalence of peanut allergy changed following earlier introduction of peanut? The EarlyNuts Study, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2020.12.009.
  • Hsiao K, Ponsonby A, Axelrad C, Pitkin C & Tang M. Long-term clinical and immunological effects of probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy after treatment cessation: 4-year follow up of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2017; 1:97-105.