Allergy denotes an abnormal, excessive reaction of the immune system to a potentially harmless antigen, such as food (food allergy) or pollen (inhaled allergy). In a healthy person, these substances do not cause any immune response. In allergy sufferers, both food and pollen can be the cause of many ailments, dangerous not only for health but also for human life (anaphylactic reaction). The incidence of allergic diseases is systematically growing, which is why they are called the plague of the 21st century. AS recently analysed, several percent of all pre-school and school children, especially big city inhabitants, suffer from allergies. Of note, children living in the villages manifest much less allergy symptoms.
Researchers agree that allergy is a civilization disease. One of the most probable theories of its development is – so-called – the hypothesis of excessive hygienization. The theory underlines that allergy is a consequence of intestinal microflora diversity reduction (after antibiotic therapy and the consumption of processed food) and the sterilization of the external environment from microorganisms. Intestinal microflora is extremely important for the proper maturation of immune cells. Multiple studies proved that microbiological balance within the gut significantly reduces the risk of both allergies and autoimmune diseases, as intestinal bacteria are the first antigens our immune system detects. For this reason, intestinal microorganisms are often called “immune coaches”. Incorrect colonization of the intestine during delivery or high abundance of pathogenic microorganisms (as a result of either treatment or lifestyle) generate an increased risk of allergy and atopy development. It has been observed that children born via caesarean section and / or fed with baby milk formulas are more likely to develop allergies. Clinical studies have shown that the use of probiotics may be important in the prevention and alleviation of allergy symptoms. The use of specific probiotic strains during pregnancy and in breastfeeding mothers suffering from allergy significantly reduces the risk of disease symptoms in her child. Probiotics have also been shown to serve as prevention toward secondary allergy via elevating the integrity of intestinal barrier, regulating the immune system and consequently inhibiting inflammation.
In people with food and/or inhaled allergies, the evaluation of intestinal microflora composition allows to select tailored probiotics and thus serves as an important therapeutic option.
In case of food and inhaled allergies, the following tests are recommended: