Gut bacteria can help cure food allergies

Clostridia, a class of bacteria, have been able to block peanut allergens in mice

By Aditya Misra
Published: Wednesday 27 August 2014


Clostridia, a group of bacteria found in the gut, could one day help in curing people of food allergies. In tests done on mice, the bacteria have been able to block peanut allergens.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice bred in a completely sterile environment, without any gut germs, had a strong immune response to peanut. But adding Clostridia group of bacteria to their digestive tract prevented the reaction. The test was also done with other groups of bacteria, but only Clostridia were found to prevent the reaction. The paper was published online on August 25.

The presence of Clostridia prevents the allergens getting into the bloodstream. This prevents allergic reactions. Researchers now plan to use the bacteria in pills or create drugs which have the same effect.

According to the research paper, the prevalence of food allergy is rising at a phenomenal rate. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention registered an 18 per cent increase in food allergies among children in the US between 1997 and 2007, says the study.

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