Treating food allergies by tweaking the microbiome? Trials offer ‘promising but mixed results’

foodallergies lead
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These days, there is little doubt that the body’s resident bacteria have a big say in how the immune system responds to food allergens. Research into the underlying causes of food allergies has blossomed to parallel the condition’s growing prevalence: an estimated 6 percent of children and up to 10 percent of adults in the US have an allergy to some food. Scientists have identified connections between a person’s microbial makeup and whether or not that person has a food allergy. 

While researchers continue to untangle these mechanisms, many scientists already have an eye toward microbiome-manipulating interventions for preventing or treating food allergies. 

Several clinical trials have tested the effects of probiotic supplementation, with promising but mixed results. “When it comes to probiotics, so far the studies done are not very definitive,” says [researcher Rima] Rachid. The approach is worth pursuing further, she says, noting that she and her colleagues hope to develop probiotics based on the bacterial species they recently identified as protective against food allergy. At the same time, Rachid is overseeing the first clinical trial for fecal transplant for peanut allergy. “It’s a very interesting approach where you’re trying to change the whole microbiome.”

Read full, original post: Could Manipulating the Microbiome Treat Food Allergies?

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