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At least one out of 11 children—or 6 million—in the United States has a food allergy. (1)
While researchers are still uncertain about why children develop allergies in the first place, they do know that the health of the gut plays a very important role.
Your Gut and Your Immune System
Just beneath the intestines, there lies a large mass of lymph tissue called the gut associated lymphoid tissues (GALT)—making the digestive tract the hub of your immune system.
You can support your baby's gut health from birth. Squirt a taste of coconut water kefir, made from the Kefir Starter, into your baby's mouth starting when he's a few days old.
The immune system works with the bacteria, viruses, and yeast living in the gut, identifying what is safe and what is not.
When the immune system is stimulated in just the right way, allergies do not develop. However, if the immune system is under-stimulated or over-stimulated, this can sensitize it to specific foods—leading to an allergy. The microbiome, or what we call the inner ecosystem, drives the development of the immune system. This process begins even before we are born. (2)
We Inherit Our Inner Ecosystem
Recent research suggests that babies are colonized within the womb. (3) As the inner ecosystem begins to develop in utero, the immune system begins to develop.
How a baby is born also shapes the immune system.
For example, Maria Dominguez-Bello at the University of Puerto Rico has found that babies born via Caesarean section are more likely to inherit an inner ecosystem with bacteria from human skin, rather than the mother’s birth canal. (4) Babies born via C-section are also more likely to face immune-related disorders. (5)(6)
Professor Hans Bisgaard, head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, explains that:
“It makes a difference if the baby is born vaginally, encountering the first bacteria from its mother's rectum, or by caesarean section, which exposes the new-born baby to a completely different, reduced variety of bacteria.”
In a large study with over 400 children, Professor Bisgaard found that the greater the diversity of microbes in the gut, the less likely a child is to develop an allergic response. (7) In other words, when the inner ecosystem is teeming with many different kinds of bacteria and yeast that work synergistically together, children (and adults too) are much less likely to suffer from allergies. These species work together, keeping you healthy. Diversity safeguards against any one organism—like Candida—from taking over.
According to Professor Bisgaard’s research, there is a direct link between the diversity of the inner ecosystem and the risk of allergies later in life.
3 Ways to Lower the Risk of Allergies in Children
We inherit much of our inner ecosystem from our mothers, but environment plays an important role too.
Here are our top three ways to reduce your child’s risk of developing an allergy:
- Support Your Digestion During Pregnancy: Because your baby inherits his inner ecosystem during pregnancy (not just during birth), it’s essential to support your own digestion and immune system while pregnant. We suggest eating fermented foods every day, regularly taking a full-spectrum enzyme, and supporting your body’s need for minerals during this crucial time with Ancient Earth Minerals.
- Breastfeed: Studies show that breastfed babies may be less likely to develop allergies later in life. (8) Breast milk contains important probiotics and signals from your immune system. If possible, breastfeed your baby.
- Introduce Probiotics and Cultured Foods to Your Baby: Shortly after birth, inoculate your baby’s gut with good bacteria. You can purchase a product like Flora Baby™ by Renew Life and follow the instructions on the jar. You can also squirt a little coconut water kefir or the diluted juice from fermented cabbage into your baby’s mouth a day or two after he is born. At first, babies make a funny face, but they quickly learn to love the sour taste. As they grow up, their parents report they are not interested in eating sugary foods at all.
Around the time your baby begins to experiment with solids, add a few teaspoons of coconut water kefir or the juice from fermented vegetables to her baby food. These small amounts of probiotics are just enough to keep the inner ecosystem teeming with beneficial microbiota that will not only help digest the new foods but will also build a strong immune system and a happier baby.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
An estimated one in 11 children has a food allergy in the United States. While researchers have yet to determine an exact cause, they confirm that gut health plays an important role in allergy development. An immune system that is under-stimulated or over-stimulated may be sensitized to certain foods, causing an allergy.
A child’s inner ecosystem is influenced by their mother and the environment.
Here are three steps you can take to reduce your child’s risk of allergies:
- Support your digestion during pregnancy. A baby’s inner ecosystem develops during pregnancy and birth; support your digestion and immune system while pregnant with daily fermented foods, a full-spectrum enzyme, and Ancient Earth Minerals.
- Breastfeed, if possible. Research confirms that breastfed babies may be less likely to develop allergies later in life; breast milk contains important probiotics and immune system signals.
- Give your baby cultured foods. To inoculate your baby’s gut with beneficial bacteria, give him tiny amounts of probiotics and probiotic liquids. As your baby begins to eat solid foods, add 2-3 teaspoons of coconut water kefir or fermented vegetable juice to the baby food to aid in digestion and to build a strong immune system.
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- Gupta, R. S., Springston, E. E., Warrier, M. R., Smith, B., Kumar, R., Pongracic, J., & Holl, J. L. (2011). The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States. Pediatrics, 128(1), e9-e17.
- West, C. E., Jenmalm, M. C., & Prescott, S. L. (2014). The gut microbiota and its role in the development of allergic disease: a wider perspective. Clinical & Experimental Allergy.
- Rautava, S., Luoto, R., Salminen, S., & Isolauri, E. (2012). Microbial contact during pregnancy, intestinal colonization and human disease. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 9(10), 565-576.
- Dominguez-Bello, M. G., Costello, E. K., Contreras, M., Magris, M., Hidalgo, G., Fierer, N., & Knight, R. (2010). Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(26), 11971-11975.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2006). Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection among healthy newborns--Chicago and Los Angeles County, 2004. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 55(12), 329.
- Biasucci, G., Benenati, B., Morelli, L., Bessi, E., & Boehm, G. (2008). Cesarean delivery may affect the early biodiversity of intestinal bacteria. The Journal of nutrition, 138(9), 1796S-1800S.
- Bisgaard, H., Li, N., Bonnelykke, K., Chawes, B. L. K., Skov, T., Paludan-Müller, G., ... & Krogfelt, K. A. (2011). Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy is associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 128(3), 646-652.
- Silva, D., Geromi, M., Halken, S., Host, A., Panesar, S. S., Muraro, A., ... & Sheikh, A. (2014). Primary prevention of food allergy in children and adults: systematic review. Allergy, 69(5), 581-589.
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