The Influence of the Microbiome on Allergic Sensitization to Food

Article: The Influence of the Microbiome on Allergic Sensitization to Food
Source: The Journal of Immunology

Within the last 50 years, there has been a major increase in the frequency of allergic diseases in developed countries such as the US. Genetics, combined with diet changes/improved sanitation/increased antibiotic and vaccination use, can be attributed with this change. These changes lead to a change in the makeup of the human microbiota, altering not only diversity but frequency as well. Specific species of bacteria can have a multitude of different effects on the body. The presence of certain gut microbes, such as E. coli, can help to stimulate a state known as “endotoxin tolerance,” which is thought to provide a protective effect against inflammatory responses. On a similar note, individuals with a lower risk of food allergies were found to have a higher prevalence of Bifidobacterium while those with a higher risk of food allergies was found to have a higher prevalence of Bacterioids. The makeup of your microbiota can have major impacts not only on your overall health but also on the way your body reacts to certain chemicals.

The article discusses the human microbiome and the effects of its’ diversity and makeup on health and inflammatory response.

Critical Analyses:
I enjoyed the connections made between the human microbiota and human health/wellness. There is such a large connection between these, yet the field is so understudied it’s difficult to see its’ potential. One of the coolest thing I learned from this article is that when colonized with low-immunostimulatory microbiota in early life, aspects of immune education can be impaired resulting in predispostions to inflammatory diseases. This article is not a good read for those not strongly versed in scientific terminology, and is somewhat difficult for even bio students to fully comprehend due to terminology used.

How much of the field of preventative medicine is focused on the connection between the microbiota and human health? I’m curious about this because I feel like the field has so much potential, yet there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on the microbiota and overall health.