Crystal Lake residents find relief from food allergies in “good” bacteria
From head-to-toe, bacteria can be blamed for everything from meningitis, sinusitis and eye infections, to upper respiratory tract and urinary tract infections, as well as nasty food-related outbreaks like salmonella and Shigella, associated with consuming undercooked meat and contaminated prepared meals. Yet, bacteria have been used for thousands of years to produce the very foods we love – from cheeses, pickles, and sauerkraut to vinegar and yogurt.
In fact, an entire category of foods and nutritional products has sprung up marketed as “probiotics,” a type of “good” bacteria often associated with fermented yogurt and kefir. You may have seen the commercials. It’s big business to promote how probiotics aid digestion.
You don’t have to go to the store to buy such immune and digestion boosting microorganisms off the shelf. You need look no further than your own body to find beneficial bacteria, with more than 500 different types naturally occurring in the digestive system alone, helping to keep our intestines healthy.
Bacteria: Taking the bad and the good
We’ve been conditioned through the years to associate all bacteria with the “bad.” After all, we have antibiotics to fight bacteria. Yet, it is believed some digestive disorders; especially those conditions of the Western world (such as inflammatory bowel disease and chronic fatigue syndrome) are actually caused by good gut bacteria being thrown out of balance. What’s to blame for this destructive bacterial imbalance? The antibiotics used to fight infections.
It’s also been suggested good hygiene and sanitary conditions taken for granted have contributed to a sharp rise in autoimmune and allergic conditions. It seems an overly sterile environment can wipe out the pathogenic organisms needed to challenge the immune system. While many unknowns remain, it’s believed when we introduce “friendly” bacteria (such as probiotics) immune system functionality is maintained, enabling the body to better ward off infections on its own.
Antibiotics reduce immune system activity by killing off gut bacteria. They don’t discriminate among bad germs that cause infection and illness and good organisms that break down our food to create a defense against disease-producing counterparts.
Promising treatments, thanks to good bacteria
Drs. Noga Askenazi, Eugenia Hahn, and Dipika Patel are at the leading edge of treatments, including the latest promising research to harness a specific type of good bacteria, Clostridia, in the production of a new probiotic.
A team led by University of Chicago researchers found Clostridia signals the production of natural antibiotics that prevent food allergens from entering our bloodstream. Its unique protective function may also be used to prevent food allergies – by setting off a protective response.
Bacteria and food allergies in Crystal Lake IL may go hand-in-hand in a good way. Call our local office at 847 888 8802, so the team at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois can match you with today’s effective (and safe) allergy management techniques.