Infants with a cow's milk allergy have had the problem reversed when they have been given a probiotic that contains the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) bacteria.
The probiotic also helps the gut create butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is a natural detoxifier that rids the gut of ammonia and neurotoxins. Researchers at the University of Chicago say the gut environment (microbiome) of someone with an allergy is significantly different to that of a healthy person, suggesting the differences in the structure of the bacterial community in the gut influence the development of allergies.
In a test on a group of infants with a cow's milk allergy, those given the probiotic didn't have any bio-markers of an allergy in stool samples compared to those who didn't have the probiotic.
Food allergies have increased by 20 per cent in developed countries in the past decade, and the increase has mainly been the result of over-use of antibiotics, a high-fat and low-fibre diet, reduced exposure to infectious disease and formula feeding, say the researchers.
(Source: The ISME Journal, 2015; doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.151)