Gut health is the foundation upon which total-body health is built. That is the message Brenda and I have been promoting since the beginning. Over the years, scientific support of this message has grown substantially, especially with regard to the effect of gut bacteria on many aspects of health.

A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine has further elucidated the mechanism of allergy development in antibiotic treated individuals. Previous studies have found links between the development of allergic disease and alteration in gut bacterial composition. In fact, I recently blogged about one such study.

In the new study, mice were given antibiotics to deliberately alter their gut microbiota composition. This resulted in a decrease in beneficial bacteria with an associated increase in blood and lymph node levels of allergen-activating white blood cells known as basophils, and immunoglobulin E, or IgE.  IgE binds to basophil surface receptors.  This event liberates histamine and inflammatory cytokines from the basophil cells which are capable of triggering powerful allergic responses. The combination of basophils and IgE, or IgE alone, recognizes allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, or certain foods, and signals the immune system to produce inflammatory cells. The result:  allergic reactions.

The study found that these increased levels of IgE were found along with increases in basophils (immune cells involved in allergic response) and allergic inflammation. Mice that retained their gut bacteria were protected against these allergic alterations, highlighting the crucial role gut bacteria play in immune regulation.

Studies like these further our understanding of the gut link to health conditions, and they serve to identify possible pathways by which we may one day be able to prevent or treat these conditions. Lead researcher David Artis, PhD stated, “It may be beneficial to identify the specific commensals [or gut bacteria] and commensal-derived signals that regulate circulating basophil populations as this could lead to the development of new probiotic or other commensal-derived therapies.”

Did you think your gut could hold so much power over your health? Now, what are you going to do to support you gut health?

I would suggest prebiotics and probiotics, some cultured foods, and an 80 percent plant-based diet (high in soluble and insoluble fiber), which is the main support for a healthy microbiome (new name for our 100 trillion gut bacteria).

It will be wonderful to see the horrific problems associated with allergy and inflammation diminish as humanity learns to care for their microbiome with probiotics and wise food choices.



  1. D.A. Hill, et al., “Commensal bacteria-derived signals regulate basophil hematopoiesis and allergic inflammation.” Nature Med. 2012 Mar 25; EPub ahead of print.