Allergies from western diet

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Improper nutrition as a cause of allergies and intestinal diseases.

(2010-08-04) Paolo Lionetti, a pediatric gastroenterologist from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal at the University of Florence, conducted a study to investigate the effects of child nutrition on the bacterial cultures of the large intestine to reduce the susceptibility of western children to To discuss allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases in more detail.

For comparison, he examined the nutrition and stool samples of children from Florence and the village of Boulpon in Burkina Faso. In the latter, autoimmune diseases, allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases practically do not occur, which Lionetti attributes in his study to different diets and the associated different bacterial cultures in the intestine.

The children from Florence follow the study, like most children in western industrial countries, with a change of diet after a maximum of one year of breastfeeding and from now on essentially based on animal proteins (meat), starch, sugar and fat. Vegetable fibers (fiber) form only 0.9 percent of the food, compared to a fiber content of about 10 percent in African children. This is much higher for the children from Boulpon, on the one hand they are breastfed on average for about two years and on the other hand then mostly with plant food such as B. millet porridge with vegetables and herbs.

This goes hand in hand with very different forms of intestinal bacteria, with 95 percent of all bacteria in both groups falling into four categories: Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes (B) and Firmicutes (F) and Proteobacteria. In the children from Burkina Faso, the bacteria in category B dominated, while in the Italian children, those in the F category were more common. This is a problematic statement in itself, since a high F / B ratio is a sign of obesity (obesity) while a high B / F ratio predominates in leaner people, according to the expert Lionetti.

In addition, the bacterial diversity in African children was far greater and some of the intestinal bacteria found in them, such as. Prevotella, Butyrivibrio and Xylanibacter could not be detected in the European test subjects. These bacteria are suitable for digesting plant fibers and providing additional energy sources, whereby short-chain fatty acids are formed, which are said to have a preventive role in inflammatory bowel diseases. Lionetti also sees this as a possible explanation for the absence of inflammatory bowel diseases in children from Burkina Faso. He also believes that the higher bacterial diversity also makes the intestine more resistant to diarrheal diseases, since it limits the spread of pathogens in the intestine.

Lionetti also attributes the low rate of allergic diseases to the higher diversity of the intestinal bacteria, since the presence of various antigens in the intestine preoccupies the immune system and prevents it from developing defense reactions against innocuous allergens. Accordingly, a healthy high-fiber diet, especially in early childhood, could help to protect against allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases for a lifetime.

Lionetti wants to verify these results in the coming years through further studies, but he is now advising parents to make sure that their children are provided with sufficient fiber, because eating habits are the determining factor for the diversity of the gut microbes. (fp)

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