A new look at allergy: from allergen avoidance to active management

It is a well-established fact that allergies are linked to an excessive immune system response. Nutrition in early life has a key role to play to reduce the burden of allergy, by promoting natural development of oral tolerance through interplay with gut microbiota and immune system.

Nutricia Research has collaborated with The Guardian on an article entitled ‘Advancing nutrition to reduce allergies’. Learn more here: http://www.healthawareness.co.uk/childrens-health/advancing-nutrition-to-reduce-allergies

The global prevalence of allergy is dramatically increasing, with around 30-40% of the world’s population affected by one or more allergic conditions today. Beyond the immediate symptoms, allergy can have a major impact on the quality of life of patients and their families, as well as being an ongoing economic burden on healthcare services.

Allergy is an immune-mediated disease. Increasing evidence indicates the gut microbiota as a crucial factor for immune development in the early years. There are consistent associations between reduced infant intestinal biodiversity (microbial dysbiosis) and allergic diseases.

Up to now, healthcare has focused on managing allergic disease by avoiding the offending allergen (i.e. protein) until symptoms resolve and an infant or child’s immune system can tolerate the food protein. However, there is increasing evidence that nutritional allergy management approaches can have a broader impact on later life, beyond symptom resolution.

Therefore, allergy management is shifting away from simple allergen avoidance towards an active management approach1. We believe that active management entails allergen exposure while setting the right environment for the immune system to support its “tolerance development”.  Pre-pro- and synbiotics can play a role in supporting immune ‘fitness’, immune resilience, through rebalancing the gut microbiota.

Allergy prevention and management in infants and children is an active area of research at Nutricia Research. With 40 years of innovation and scientific discoveries and more than 600 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field of allergy, we are committed to deliver high-quality, safe nutrition for allergy care.

 

1 Anagnostou & Fox Arch Dis Child 2015