Promising research for food allergy sufferers in Lake Barrington IL with Clostridia
At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois, we know the power of introducing small amounts of the very allergen that causes our face to itch or our nose to run. By doing so, we build the immune system’s tolerance of the trigger. The latest research indicates Drs. Noga Askenazi, Eugenia Hahn, and Dipika Patel will have another weapon in their arsenal to fight food allergies in the form of friendly bacteria called Clostridia.
Getting to know Clostridia
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by University of Chicago researchers isolated the oxygen-sensitive bacteria deep in our intestines.
They found this organism signals the production of mucus and natural antibiotics, which reinforce the intestinal lining that acts as a barrier – preventing food allergens from entering our bloodstream.
Mice born and raised in sterile, bacteria-free conditions and those treated with antibiotics to reduce gut bacteria both produced a higher than normal response to fight off the peanut allergens deemed as “harmful invaders.” This response was stronger than those control mice with normal gut bacteria. Notably, when a mix of Clostridia bacteria was introduced, the allergic mice groups’ sensitivity to peanuts was reduced.
Another bacteria, Bacteroides, did not have the same effect, which led scientists to conclude Clostridia are uniquely positioned to protect us from food allergies.
While increased antibiotic use and its role in allergic diseases have come under study, little has been known about the exact mechanism behind how this balance of intestinal microorganisms regulates our body’s response to substances in food until now.
A promising conclusion
Genetic analysis found Clostridia caused immune cells to make lots of Interleukin-22, a molecule known to block substances from passing through the intestinal lining. One in 13 children with food allergies have greater “permeability,” meaning allergens in problem foods can pass through the intestinal lining easily. When one of the two mice groups were given antibodies that neutralized these IL-22 chemicals, their allergen levels increased when in contact with peanut allergens, indicating that Clostridia-induced IL-22 prevents permeability so allergens can’t enter the bloodstream.
What does it all mean?
It’s estimated up to 15 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
The Chicago researchers note reported food allergy among kids alone has increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007.
For those suffering from what can be deadly anaphylactic reactions to allergens, there is now hope in the form of this newfound bacteria-related pathway to reducing allergic sensitivities.
Intestinal bacteria have often surfaced as a factor behind many so-called “Western lifestyle” diseases, including diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s thought too many antibiotics and too much processed, fatty foods change the balance of bacteria in our intestines because these organisms “are what we eat”; they respond and change in number based on what is consumed in our diets.
By understanding bacteria’s role and response, our specialists have yet another way to intervene and treat allergy symptoms by regulating how bacteria respond and protect against allergens. Better yet, a probiotic made from stable Clostridia spores could prevent food allergies from occurring in the first place by building a barrier between the intestines and the bloodstream.
Rest assured Drs. Askenazi, Hahn and Patel will be at the forefront of such promising research. Call to find out more about your latest options for allergy treatment in Lake Barrington at 847 888 8802.