Friday, April 16, 2010

Excellent! A Solid Argument for Cutting Back on Housework - Excessive Cleaning Linked to Allergies

The conditions have become increasingly widespread in developed countries with hay fever, eczema, hives and asthma are on the rise.

The study, by Guy Delespesse, a professor at the University of Montréal Faculty of Medicine, linked the trend to the sterile environment created by the cleaning habits of today.

Allergies can be caused by family history, air pollution, processed foods, stress and smoking, but Prof Delespesse said a lack of bacteria in the world around us may be the biggest factor.

"There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases," says Prof Delespesse, who is also director of the Laboratory for Allergy Research at the University of Montréal. "The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime."

In 1980, 10 percent of the Western population suffered from allergies. Today, it is 30 percent. In 2010, one out of 10 children is said to be asthmatic and the mortality rate resulting from this affliction increased 28 percent between 1980 and 1994.

"It's not just the prevalence but the gravity of the cases," says Prof Delespesse. "Regions in which the sanitary conditions have remained stable have also maintained a constant level of allergies and inflammatory diseases."

"Allergies and other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis are the result of our immune system turning against us," says Prof Delespesse.

"The bacteria in our digestive system are essential to digestion and also serve to educate our immune system. They teach it how to react to strange substances. This remains a key in the development of a child's immune system."

Although hygiene does reduce our exposure to harmful bacteria it also limits our exposure to beneficial microorganisms. As a result, the bacterial flora of our digestive system isn't as rich and diversified as it used to be.

Prof Delespesse said consuming probiotics - foods like yogurt that contain a mixture of beneficial organisms - can help combat the problem by artificially introducing bacteria into the gup.

"Consuming probiotics during pregnancy could help reduce allergies in the child," said Prof Delespesse. "They are not a miracle remedy, yet they are one of many elements that improve our diet and our health."

Not sure my wife will buy it however.

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

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