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Science Weekly: Reversing Milk Allergies

(Photo from Tribune News Service)
(Photo from Tribune News Service)

Milk allergies are becoming more common, and it’s likely that you either know someone who has a milk allergy or have one yourself. Alternative milks and dairy products now provide many options for those who can’t drink cow’s milk. However, a recent study is working to treat this issue in infants before it becomes a problem later on in life.

The study was published in The ISME Journal in September and is being worked on by scientists from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Naples Federico II in Italy.

Researchers have developed an infant formula that contains a form of casein, a protein found in milk, supplemented with lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic bacteria.

Early in the year the lab had published a study that identified a gut bacteria that is directly linked to regulating dietary allergens in the bloodstream.

During the current study researchers studied bacteria samples from the stool of healthy infants, infants with an allergy who were given the LGG enriched probiotic formula and infants with an allergy who were not given the enriched formula. This was done to see if the consumption of this probiotic could increase tolerance to cow’s milk.

The infants with a dairy milk allergy who received the enriched formula showed different microorganisms in the stomach than those infants who did not have the dairy milk allergy.

Since those infants with an allergy had different structures of bacteria, this leads researchers to believe that there may be a link between those structures and the development of allergies.

The infants given the probiotic enriched formula and developed a higher tolerance also showed higher levels of the bacteria that produces butyrate, which is found in milk. The infants who were given the formula but still did not see an increase in tolerance did not have as much of the same bacteria, which leads researchers to think that there is a direct link between these strains of bacteria and tolerance.

Jack Gilbert, who was involved with the study an is a professor at the University of Chicago, believes that these bacterial strains could be useful in determining new treatments for food allergies. The next goal for the researchers is to turn these findings into a clinical treatment.



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