April 22-28th marks the 2018 World Allergy Week, hosted by The World Allergy Organisation and its member societies around the world. The focus of World Allergy Week is Atopic Dermatitis: An Itch that Rashes. World Allergy Week is hosted annually by the World Allergy Organization (WAO), together with its Member Societies, to raise awareness of allergic disease and related disorders and advocate for the provision of training and resources in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of these diseases and asthma, which are rising in prevalence around the world. See here for more information on World Allergy Week.
In the grip of an allergy pandemic
The prevalence of allergic diseases, such as food allergy, atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma, are rising dramatically worldwide in both developed and developing countries, affecting 30–40% of the population1. The global rise of food allergy is particularly problematic in infants, who are bearing the greatest burden of this rising trend2.
Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMA) is one of the most common childhood allergies, affecting up to 5% of infants and children3. Beyond the clinical 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 service4567 . Although most infants with CMA outgrow their allergies by school age, an increasing number may have persistent symptoms or develop other allergic conditions over time, also referred to as the allergic march
It is thought that the rising allergy epidemic is due to the vulnerability of the developing immune system to meet the challenges related to modern life8. These modern challenges include, amongst others, dietary changes, pollution, the widespread use of antibiotics and increasing number of caeserian-section deliveries. Each of these changes can trigger an imbalance – or ‘dysbiosis’ – of the gut microbiota8 9 10 11 . . Many studies have shown that abnormal gut microbiota trajectories in infants may delay the development of oral tolerance and these play an important role in the development of food allergies, such as CMA12.
The evolution of nutritional allergy management
For many years, the primary focus of allergy management has been allergen avoidance, however increasing evidence supports an active approach to develop oral tolerance – a state in which the immune system recognises food allergens as harmless and does not respond to the food allergen. In line with the emerging scientific evidence, Danone Nutricia Research supports the hypothesis that controlled exposure to allergens is important rather than complete avoidance for a majority of infants, except for those with severe allergies for whom any exposure poses a safety risk13.
As infants at risk of and with allergy exhibit gut microbiota dysbiosis, and the gut microbiota plays a key role in immune system maturation, there is a rationale to supplement the diet of these infants with pre-, pro- and synbiotics14151617 . As such The World Allergy Organisation guidelines recommend prebiotic supplementation to non-exclusively breastfed infants both at high and low risk for developing allergy18.
Danone Nutricia Research: Pioneering in Allergy
In line with this dual approach to allergy management, Danone Nutricia Research has studied the effect of a partially hydrolysed protein (pHP) with the prebiotic including scGOS/lcFOS (9:1) in infants with a high risk of developing allergy. Learn more about PATCH clinical study here
With more than 600 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field of immunology and allergy, we are proud of our 40 years commitment to innovation and scientific research in the field of Allergy.