Why Do We Have So Many Allergies?

September 19, 2016




Early life use of antibiotics, infant formulas and Cesarean delivery are some of the predominant causes. 



A research study presented at this year’s European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in London, UK showed that exposure to antibiotics early in life is related to increased risk of developing allergies later in life. 


A total of 22 studies (including 394,517 patients) were selected to study the risk of eczema and 22 studies (including 256,609 patients) to study the risk of hay fever. The increased risk of eczema and hay fever due to early life use of antibiotics was up to 50%. 


Furthermore, the association was stronger if patients had been treated with 2 courses compared with one course of antibiotics both for eczema and for hay fever.


The study of 30,060 children up to age 7 years from Geisinger Clinic showed association between antibiotic use and milk allergy, non-milk food allergies, and other allergies (Hirsch A G et al. Early Life Antibiotic Use and Subsequent Diagnosis of Food Allergy and Allergic Diseases. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 26 August 2016).


More data regarding allergies come from studies on the different type of deliveries. Delivery by Cesarean section predisposes newborns to the development of food allergies, according to the study published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Journal (Papathoma, E et al., Cesarean section delivery and development of food allergy and atopic dermatitis in early childhood. PAI, 27 May 2016).


Cesarean section delivery seems to upregulate the immune response to food allergens, especially in children with allergic predisposition.


Separately, prenatal antibiotics and Cesarean delivery have been found to be associated with increased risk of allergic diseases. Furthermore, intrapartum antibiotics in Caesarean and vaginal delivery are associated with infant gut microbiota dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) and thankfully breastfeeding modifies some of these effects (Azad MB, et al. Impact of maternal intrapartum antibiotics, method of birth and breastfeeding on gut microbiota during the first year of life: a prospective cohort study. BJOG. 28 September 2015). On the other hand, formula feeding aggravates it.


The authors suggest the mechanism behind this effect is the immunomodulatory effect of antibiotics, and the disruption of the microorganisms (microbiome) in the gut caused by antibiotics which can lead to reduced immune responses. 


Unfortunately, allergies are not just annoying sneezing, itchy skin, but they also are associated with other very serious problems.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) was most strongly associated with severe ADD/ADHD. Among children with AD, history of anemia, headaches and obesity were associated with even higher odds of ADD/ADHD.


Asthma, insomnia and headaches increased the odds of ADHD in adults with AD (Strom MA et al. Association between atopic dermatitis and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in U.S. children and adults. British Journal of Dermatology.28 August 2016)


More disturbing data comes from 2007–2008 National Survey of Children's Health, a US population-based study of 91,642 children aged 0–17 years that determine the association between the prevalence of epilepsy and allergic disease, including asthma, atopic dermatitis /eczema, hay fever, and food allergies (Silverberg J.I. et al. Allergic disease is associated with epilepsy in childhood: a US population-based study. European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 20 November 2013)


According to Hippocrates (460-377 BC), all diseases begin in the gut. The mucosal surface of the gastrointestinal tract and its microbiota act as an important organ for host defense.

Let's protect it by limiting the use of toxic agents like unnecessary antibiotics especially in the very young and defenseless kids. They will be be suffering from these consequences for their entire life!


For more information on how to address these issues and treat your allergies, please contact

Dr. Koganski's office at 215-750-7000 or www.newtowninternalmedicine.com


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