Immune protection linked to gut microbe mix in early infancy
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