Enhancing Your Baby’s Gut Health May Help Avoid Asthma and Allergies as They Grow
It’s May, and May is officially Allergy Awareness Month. More children are now suffering from asthma and allergies than before. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than six million children under the age of 18 have asthma and more than 50 million Americans have environmental and/or food allergies. This means that babies in the US are now five times more at risk for developing allergies and asthma. What’s even more surprising is that asthma and allergies are often impacted by the development of an infant’s gut health during infancy.
EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson talked with Dr. Tanya Altmann, who shared tips on how to make sure your baby is getting beneficial bacteria early on. See the full interview here:
First of all, what is the link between gut bacteria and the increase in allergies and asthma? New research shows that American babies’ gut microbiome has changed remarkably from our grandparents’ generation. This is due in part to modern medical practices (such as antibiotics and C-sections) which interrupt the transfer of beneficial bacteria from mom to baby. This can mean that you, the mom, may not have any good bacteria living in your gut to pass on to your baby if your mom didn’t pass it on to you.
Additionally, American babies now have gut microbiomes that are completely different from babies in other countries where that transfer still occurs, and where rates of metabolic and immune diseases remain lower. American babies are now missing B. infantis – a good bacteria which protects your baby’s gut from potentially harmful bacteria. Without this beneficial bacteria, potentially harmful bacteria can dominate you baby’s gut. Many studies link these potentially harmful bacteria to higher risk of allergies and asthma.
So can you catch this early? Unfortunately, Dr. Altmann says tests are still in development, so you can’t tell at the moment if you have the good bacteria to pass on to your baby, or if your baby has the good bacteria present right after birth. But there should be tests in the near future that can tell us more about our gut health. For now, breastfeeding mothers can add in the Evivo probiotic to their breast milk to help promote good bacteria in their babies' guts. Evivo has helped with an 80% decrease in bad bacteria. You can mix Evivo in with a pumped bottle, or hand express a little breast milk and feed it to your baby with your finger or a syringe.
But what can you do if your child is no longer breastfeeding? Probiotics are always helpful to promote good gut health. You can also help provide your child with a high fiber diet, full of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes. These foods will help set the stage for good gut bacteria to flourish.