Pets Can Help Protect Children From Allergies And Obesity

Posted: Apr 9 2017, 6:05am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 9 2017, 6:10am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Pets Can Help Protect Children from Allergies and Obesity
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Pet exposure in early life could reduce the risk of developing allergies and obesity, says study

Having a dog or cat in the house can help prevent allergies and obesity in children.

Researchers from University of Alberta, Canada have found that babies born into families with pets have higher amounts of microbes linked to lower risk of obesity and allergies.

Ruminococcus and oscillospira are two types of microbes that are found in the intestines of the humans and the abundance of these gut-bacteria could lead to profound effects on humans.

“There's definitely a critical window of time when gut immunity and microbes co-develop, and when disruptions to the process result in changes to gut immunity.” Anita Kozyrskyj, one of the world's leading on gut microbes and pediatric epidemiologist at University of Alberta said.

For the study, researchers examined the fecal matter collected from more than 700 Canadian babies between 2009 and 2012. Researchers found higher amount of two good microbes in the kids of the families who owned a pet. Presence of the pets in the house started to offer benefits even before the baby was born. About 70 percent of study participants owned dogs instead of any other pet.

Researchers believe that exposure to dirt and bacteria early in life, in this case the fur and paws of dogs, can increase gut microbe community and boost immunity in humans.

“The abundance of these two bacteria were increased twofold when there was a pet in the house,” said Kozyrskyj. “The pet exposure was shown to affect the gut microbiome indirectly – from dog to mother to unborn baby – during pregnancy as well as during the first three months of the baby’s life. In other words, even if the dog had been given away from adoption just before the woman gave birth, the healthy microbiame exchange could still take place.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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