Probiotics Offer Peanut Allergy Sufferers Hope for a Cure
The yogurt in your fridge may be an important part of the quest to find a cure for those who suffer from a peanut allergy. Probiotics, commonly found in yogurt and other products, offer hope for a new treatment. Scientists from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have developed an immunotherapy process to help.
Probiotics and Peanuts
The researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute focused on creating an immunotherapy treatment that could potentially cure peanut allergies. Immunotherapy refers to a process that involves giving patients small amounts of the item they are allergic to and increasing the item slowly. The goal is to change how the immune system reacts to the item. During a study that lasted for 18 months, children with peanut allergies were given the new immunotherapy treatment. The first group received the peanut protein with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The control group took a placebo. In the end, scientists found that 80 percent of the children who received the actual treatment were now able to tolerate peanuts. On the other hand, 4 percent of the children who received the placebo were now able to tolerate peanuts.
Hope and Caution
Immunotherapy remains a controversial treatment because people with extreme allergies may have a serious reaction during the process. There are also questions about long-term benefits and other risk factors. Researchers caution people against trying to replicate the study at home. The amount of Lactobacillus rhamnosus used in the study is significantly higher than a person could consume from just eating yogurt. It is estimated a person would have to eat 44 pounds of yogurt a day to copy the amount. In addition, researchers are worried about people trying DYI concoctions that lead to serious allergic reactions. Although more research is needed, peanut allergy sufferers have new hope for a cure. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is already planning another study. The researchers hope to track the long-term removal and addition of peanuts.