Is There a Role for Probiotics in the Prevention or Treatment of Food Allergy?
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- Nermes, M., Salminen, S. & Isolauri, E. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2013) 13: 622. doi:10.1007/s11882-013-0381-9
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A balanced gut microbiota is crucial for the development of healthy immunoregulation and gut barrier function to allow brisk immune responses to pathogens and systemic hyporesponsiveness to harmless antigens such as food. Although the first allergic disease to manifest itself, atopic eczema, is not equivalent to food allergy, pre- and postnatal administration of specific probiotic strains has emerged as a promising tool for the prevention of this condition, with potential implications for food allergy development. For food allergy proper, however, we lack markers and risk factors and mechanisms, i.e., targets for preventive measures. The focus here is therefore on the treatment. Indeed, the potential of specific probiotic strains to alleviate food allergy resides in their ability to modify antigens, repair gut barrier functions, balance altered microbiota, and restore local and systemic immune regulation. In patients with multiple food allergies, induction of oral tolerance by specific probiotics continues to attract research interest.