A recent study looked at the correlation of food allergy and birth conditions. Namely the association between C-sections, preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, large for gestational age and low Apgar scores and future food allergy.
The prevalence of food allergy is increasing and there is an interest in environmental components, very little is known about early-life risk factors.
In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, more than 1 million children were studied an their associated birth conditions. The results showed:
- C-section delivery was associated with increased risk of food allergy
- Large for gestational age infants and low 5 minute Apgar scores were associated with a greater risk of food allergy
These results illustrate the effect of early-life influences on the development of food allergy and current discussion worldwide on food allergy prevention strategies.
In the study, it showed that both elective and emergency C-sections predispose to food allergy. This strengthens the theory that exposure to vaginal micoflora might reduce the risk of offspring allergic manifestations. Another study showed that ceasarean delivery is associated with Clostridium difficile colonization, which increases the risk of wheeze, eczema and sensitization to food allergens in childhood. Ceasarean delivery seems to delay and alter the development of the offspring’s immune system, subsequently increasing the risk of atopic disease.
Interestingly in the study, preterm babies had less food allergy risks. More studies will need to examine this correlation, but the authors hypothesize that preterm-born children might have an earlier introduction of foods orally, which might be involved in induction of tolerance to foods.
The results of this study, correlate with previous blog posts we had in the past.