Probiotics May Help Prevent Peanut Allergies, Animal Study Shows

Peanuts

Bacteria in the gut can help protect mice against peanut food allergies, according to a new study. The findings suggest that probiotics might help treat or prevent these potentially lethal food allergies in people, researchers say.

Food allergies, which are sometimes deadly immune system reactions to certain foods, currently affect about 15 million people in the United States. Food allergy rates among children rose by about 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.

“We’ve seen a generational change in the prevalence of food allergies,” said senior study author Cathryn Nagler, an immunologist at the University of Chicago. “When I was in elementary school, my brothers and I ate peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day. Now, my children’s classrooms are peanut free — it’s estimated that, in the U.S., there are now two children in every classroom with potentially life-threatening allergic responses to food.” Read more…

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