Bacteria or fungi in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract play a major role in an individual's sensitivityto allergens. Michigan researchers found that changes in the normal mixture of microflora,bacteria, and fungi in the GI tract can build up the immune system's reaction to commonallergens in the lung and raise the chance of developing chronic allergens or asthma. The commonallergens include pollen and animal dander.
The researchers concluded that alterations in gut microflora as a result of widespread useof antibiotics plus a high-fat, high-sugar, low-fiber diet may be responsible for the major risein incidences of chronic asthma and allergies in Western civilized countries. (The findingswere reported in Infection and Immunity, January 2005.)