We are definitely coming closer to figuring out the details of the gut microbiome. Over the next 10 years, this will be critical to our understanding and treatment of chronic disease. Excellent article from Dr. Mercola's website.--
Christopher L. Bray MD PhD
"Certain Gut Bacteria Protect Against Food Allergies
The study,4, 5 which used mice, found that a common gut bacteria called Clostridia helps prevent sensitization to food allergens. In fact, immune responses to food allergens were reversed once Clostridia bacteria were put back into the mice.
Another common type of gut bacteria, Bacteroides, did not have this effect, suggesting Clostridia may have a unique role in this regard.
Using genetic analysis, the researchers determined that Clostridia instructs immune cells to produce a signaling molecule called interleukin-22 (IL-22), which is known to reduce the permeability of the lining in your intestines.
In other words, it helps prevent leaky gut syndrome—a condition that allows allergens to enter your bloodstream, thereby producing an immune response. The researchers suggest this discovery may eventually lead to probiotic therapies to treat food allergies. As reported by HealthCanal.com:6
"By inducing immune responses that prevent food allergens from entering the bloodstream, Clostridia minimize allergen exposure and prevent sensitization -- a key step in the development of food allergies...
Although the causes of food allergy... are unknown, studies have hinted that modern hygienic or dietary practices may play a role by disturbing the body's natural bacterial composition...
'Environmental stimuli such as antibiotic overuse, high fat diets, caesarean birth, removal of common pathogens and even formula feeding have affected the microbiota with which we've co-evolved,' said study senior author Cathryn Nagler, PhD, Bunning Food Allergy Professor at the University of Chicago.
'Our results suggest this could contribute to the increasing susceptibility to food allergies.'"
Early Disruption of Gut Flora May Also Promote Metabolic Problems
In addition to an increased risk for allergies, early disruption of your microbiome can also have long-term effects on your metabolism. One recent study suggests that exposing infants to antibiotics may in fact predispose them to obesity.
The study, published in the journal Cell,7, 8 points to there being a window of time when changes to the microbiome can have a serious and long-term impact on your body's metabolism.
This window was the first month of life in mice. Translating that to a human time scale—provided the effect fully applies to humans—it would correlate to a time frame of the first six months; potentially up to the first three years. Mice given antibiotics for the first four weeks of life grew up to be 25 percent heavier, and had 60 percent more body fat than the controls.
The researchers identified four specific species of gut bacteria that appeared to be of particular importance with regards to metabolism: Lactobacillus, Allobaculum, Rikenelleceae, and Candidatus arthromitus (the last one is not found in humans)."