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Breast-feeding newborns might limit their allergy to pets later

Immune protection linked to gut microbe mix in early infancy

3:26pm, February 27, 2015
a baby breast feeding

GOOD NUTRITION  Breast milk contributes to an intestinal mix of microbes in newborns that might suppress pet allergy risk later, a study finds.

HOUSTON — Early breast-feeding accompanies a lower risk of pet allergy, possibly because of the way breast milk steers the composition of an infant’s gut microbe mix.

Scientists find that formula-fed newborns have a kind of gut bacterium at levels typically not seen until later in babyhood. These kids also had more signs of pet allergy years later than did breast-fed children, researchers reported February 22 at a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Breast-feeding has myriad benefits for an infant and influences the mix of microbes in the baby’s intestines (SN: 1/11/14, p. 22). Whether breast-feeding affects a child’s allergy risk has been less clear.

Alexandra Sitarik, a biostatistician at Henry Ford Health

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