The work suggests that the significant changes in European diets over the past 20-40 years may have contributed to the increased incidence of allergic diseases in both children and adults seen over this period. Members of the nutrition work package responsible for the report consider that its findings are just the beginning of GA²LEN’s potential role in greater understanding of this complex area.
The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased dramatically over the past few decades, especially in children. One child in three is allergic today and one in two people in Europe are likely to be suffering from at least one allergy by 2015. It is generally agreed that a combination of heredity and environmental factors is responsible for the development of the allergy and asthma. However, the evolution of these diseases has been far too rapid for genetics to be the sole explanation. Among the wide range of environmental factors under discussion, changes in the European diet in the last 20-40 years are considered to be a possible explanation. Indeed, the way in which children are fed early in life may have a direct effect on the subsequent development of asthma and allergies, according to a recent publication from the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA²LEN).
In a paper entitled “Nutrition and allergic disease”, published this year in Clinical and Experimental Allergy Reviews, 12 European experts working together in the GA²LEN nutrition work package present the evidence and define fertile topics for future research. The work package team is led by Professor Philip C Calder, Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton.Key findings: breastfeeding, early diet and probiotics
Exclusive breastfeeding, that is providing the infant with no other liquid or food other than breast milk, is believed to be effective in reducing subsequent development of allergies. It appears that exclusive breastfeeding for four months helps protect the child from cow’s milk protein allergy until 18 months, reduces the likelihood of dermatitis (skin allergy) until three years, and reduces the risk of recurrent wheeze (or asthma) until six years’ of age. However, the longer term effects of breast feeding on allergic outcomes are not known and require investigation.
The protective effect of four months of exclusive breastfeeding is important for all children but it is especially valuable for those at high risk of developing allergies. Children are at high risk of developing allergies if one or both parents are affected by allergic disease. If it is not possible for the high-risk child to be breastfed, hypoallergenic formula combined with avoidance of solid foods for 4-6 months offers an alternative source of protection. The studies show that hypoallergenic formula helps prevent cows’ milk protein allergy developing before the age of five years and offers protection against atopic dermatitis (eczema or other skin allergy) until the age of four years.
A second major area of importance appears to be the components of the diet. For example, antioxidants in the diet, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium coming mainly from fruit and vegetables, may have a protective effect. Furthermore, different fats found in milk, butter, vegetable oils and fish may have different effects on development of allergies and asthma. Although it is difficult to find clear-cut evidence, it appears that reducing sodium intake, increasing magnesium intake, eating apples and other fruit and vegetables, and avoiding margarine might help some asthmatics. However much of the research conducted to date has not been systematic in its approach and this makes the drawing of hard conclusions very difficult.
The role of probiotics and prebiotics in the diet is promising. Living organisms such as probiotics appear to protect against the development of allergies by producing changes in the bacteria in the gut that stimulate the immune system. A double blind, placebo-controlled study has recently shown that probiotics can help reduce the risk of atopic disease. This is an important area for future research.Meeting the challenge
Noélie Auvergne | alfa
A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences