Allergies complicate the landscape of parenthood. My children have them. I have them. And to make matters worse, our allergies are not all the same. People often ask me how hard it was when the kids were little with all their eating restrictions. Truth be told, they had no allergies when they were little and neither did I. It’s not just my family, many of my friends tell the same story. Data shows that between 1997 and 2011 there was an increase of about 50% in the rates of allergies in children. So where does this new allergy epidemic come from? New evidence, points the finger again at antibiotics.
The University of Chicago has identified a group of bacteria called Clostridia that may help solve this mystery. Those little bugs have the power to block allergies. How do they do it? In order for an allergic response to occur the allergen has to reach the bloodstream. These bacteria provide a barrier of sorts against the allergen ever crossing the intestinal barrier. Dr. Cathryn Nagler, who headed this research, states: “We have co-evolved with our microbiota (the flora in our gut) and it has an enormous impact on our health. It’s having a negative impact now because we’ve disturbed it with antibiotics, a high fat diet and c-sections.” This study gives hope that a solution is in our future.
Let’s talk: how have allergies affected your family? What are some of the best strategies you have found for coping with their restricted diet?