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Food allergies and your gut biology

Food allergies and your gut biology

For many people, when they think of their gut, the first thing that comes to mind is the area around the stomach – which is only part of the story. 

When health professionals talk about the gut, they refer to the entire gastrointestinal tract and the microorganisms that inhabit it. One of the most important organs in your body, the gut is responsible for the digestion, absorption and utilisation of nutrients. It also makes up around 70 per cent of a person’s immune system. 

Poor gut health can lead to a string of negative effects on the body – including the increased risk of a food hypersensitivity to certain proteins - and it could mean the body lacks the types of microorganisms in the microbiome that are crucial for a healthy digestive system.

Those microorganisms are especially important when it comes to allergies. Generally, if you have good gut health, your chances of developing allergies are lower compared to someone with poor gut health.

The epithelial cell, the single cell layer that forms the lining of both the small and large intestine of our gut, looks very different in people with food allergies compared to those without and this can be attributed to the microbiome and how those cells process food proteins.

Food allergies 

Food allergies are hypersensitive reactions to a specific food antigen with most people developing them from a very young age. In Australia, almost every 2% of people live with a nut allergy and approximately 3% of infants have a peanut allergy. It’s becoming so common that many schools and early learning centres have banned peanuts from school lunches altogether. 

While genetics do play a role in the development of allergies, epigenetics, such as the environment factors, also dictate how the infant immune system develops.  The gut microbiomes found in people with allergies is less diverse than people without allergies.

The maternal diet can influence the immune system of the infant. During pregnancy, avoiding allergens altogether is no longer recommended, and it’s important for the mother to have a balanced diet to ensure their baby gets a good share of the nutrients needed to support healthy gut bacteria.

Fortunately these days, there is also LiveBrew helping to restore gut wellness and integrity.