Thinking about the advantages of having a dog, cat or other furry pet, most people tend to associate them with a sense of unconditional love that they show to their owners. These animals are often able to lighten the mood and drive away feelings of loneliness. It is proved that they can also be useful for human health, increasing social skills, reducing the risk of heart attack and the risk of allergies.
For a long time medicine took the view, that the presence of a furry pet can lead to the development of allergies, however, recent data from human studies challenge this view. In fact, according to several studies, fluffy animals actually reduce the development of allergies. New research at the University of Turko in Finland indicate that credible findings that contact with furry Pets leads to changes in intestinal flora of humans and consequent changes in a person’s system that blocks the Allergy.
In recent years the incidence of allergic diseases among urban populations worldwide have increased dramatically. I believe that the reason may be reducing the impact of natural environmental factors. One of the important environmental factors may be exposure to animals. According to several studies, the impact of fur-bearing animals, including contact with livestock in the early stages of life protects from asthma and allergies. At that time, as most researchers focus on the direct immune response to these contacts, there may be another factor – the increased exposure of microbial diversity and its influence on the intestinal flora of the human body.
To explore the relationship between the contacts with a fluffy pet and the development of allergic diseases such as asthma, Finnish researchers examined the intestinal flora of children participating in the long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled study, in families where there have been cases of asthma, eczema, hay fever or allergies to foods.
The researchers identified infants (n = 51), families have during pregnancy and in the first year of life had at least 1 pet. Infants (n = 64) from families with Pets were selected as a control in the sequential order set. To install the development of allergies, were conducted skin the injection test (TRC) at the age of 6 months. KIP-the tested antigens included cow’s milk, egg protein, wheat and rice flour, cod, soy bean, birch, 6 grasses, cat, dog, dust mites, latex, potatoes, carrots, and banana. Infants with at least 1 positive KIP-reaction was identified as atopic, i.e. allergies. At the age of six months, 19 children had reactions, at least one of the tested allergens
The research team also collected samples of feces from the diaper of one month babies. One of the tests included DNA analysis of two types of Bifidobacteria are found only in the gastrointestinal tract of fur-bearing animals but not in humans: B. thermophilum and B. pseudolongum. The presence of these bacteria was due to the impact of the domestic dog, cat or rabbit. One third of the infants from the group who were in contact with Pets, had bifidobacteria that are present only in samples of animal faeces, compared with 14 percent in the compared group. So, even some babies in families where no Pets, can get these bacteria, which develop in their own intestinal flora. Not hard to be exposed to these bacteria so that they developed in the human intestine. For example, when a dog is licking your face or hand of the infant, bacteria from it can get into the baby’s mouth and then into the intestine.
The results of the analysis showed that none of 19 KIP-positive children had bacteria B. thermophilum in faeces samples. It is not a coincidence, and such a relationship indicates that the impact of pet in early life can affect the composition of the human intestinal flora, reducing the risk of allergic diseases.
The main result of this study is that intestinal flora (microbiome) plays a huge role in the proper development of the immune system and can prevent the development of allergies. In addition, as I noted in a previous newsletter based on another study from the same clinical trials, probiotic supplements during the first six months of life not only reduce the likelihood of allergies and infections, but the syndrome of hyperactivity with attention deficit (SGD), as well as autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome. It turns out that in addition to probiotic supplements, contact with furry Pets can also help to improve the human microbiome. Perhaps some of the benefits of therapy dogs (and horses) in children with autism, as well as in other situations, partly due to the positive effect on intestinal microflora.
Nermes M, Endo A, Aarnio J, Salminen S, Isolauri E. Furry pets modulate gut microbiota composition in infants at risk for allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Sep 3. pii: S0091-6749(15)01036-2.
This article was written by Dr. Michael Murray, one of the leading authorities in the field of natural medicine. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Murray has been compiling a massive database of original scientific studies of the medical literature. He has personally collected over 65000 articles from the scientific literature that provide convincing evidence of the effectiveness of diet, vitamins, minerals, herbs and other natural ways of maintaining health and treating disease. It is from this constantly expanding database that Dr. Murray provides the answers on health and treatment on the website DoctorMurray.com. Visit the iHerb page of Dr. Murray by clicking here.