In a fascinating study, researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have been able to drastically reduce allergic responses to peanuts by administering probiotic therapy! In a placebo-controlled study, over 60 peanut allergic children were either given a dose of a specific probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, together with peanut protein in increasing amounts, or a placebo over 18 months to assess whether children would become tolerant to peanut.
A fixed daily dose of probiotic was used while the peanut oral immunotherapy included a daily dose of peanut protein starting at very low doses followed & increasing every 2 weeks (capped at 2 grams). Two to five weeks after stopping the treatment, a peanut allergy test was conducted on all children.
Incredibly, researchers found over 80% of children who received the oral immunotherapy treatment were able to tolerate peanut at the end of the trial, compared to less than 4% of the placebo group. This is 20 times higher than the natural rate of resolution for peanut allergy.
23 of 28 (82.1%) probiotic treated children and one of 28 (3.6%) placebo-treated children were able to include peanut in their diet at the end of the trial. The likelihood of success was high – if nine children were given probiotic and peanut therapy, seven would benefit.
Although emphasising the need for this treatment under controlled, monitored conditions, study leaders were optimistic about the implications of the research.
“It appears that we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanut such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein, ” said lead researcher, Professor Mimi Tang.
According to background research conducted by the study, peanut allergy rates have increased over 350% in the last two decades with sufferers usually experiencing life-long sensitivity.
As I write about in The Gut Healing Protocol, the immune system is intimately tied to the level of inflammation within the GI system. Presumably, with a regular dose of therapeutic probiotics, such as the Lactobacillus Rhamnosus used in this study, the immune system is able to modulate it’s response to peanut proteins.
In The Gut Healing Protocol I also describe where increased intestinal permeability, Leaky Gut, can often be the root cause of allergies due to a constant bombardment of undigested, macromolecules of food passing into the bloodstream & causing an immune response within the body. The body reacts as it would any consistent, foreign invader & develops specific antibodies to quickly & efficiently nullify the substances – the reaction which takes place. By harnessing the gut-restorative power of probiotics, one may be able to restore integrity to the gut lining & stop this phenomenon from occurring.
This is a great step forward in the advancement of allergy therapy & hopefully we see this mode of treatment gaining momentum over the traditional symptom-based approach taken by most western medical practitioners.
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Disclaimer: Remember to always work with your well qualified, nutritionally-versed practitioner when it comes to the management & treatment of illness. The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only & should not be considered medical advice.