Curing the Peanut Allergy
Australia has the highest rate of food allergies in the world, with one in ten Australian babies born with a food allergy. The most common cause of anaphylaxis related deaths is peanut allergy—a potentially lifelong problem associated with severe reactions. Oral immunotherapy has attracted interest as a potential treatment for food allergies, as treatments to mitigate reaction severity, desensitise patients to withstand inadvertent peanut ingestion, and—ideally—cure the allergy outright are urgently needed.’ Oral immunotherapy, in which allergic patients are orally re-fed titrated amounts of an allergen is a promising strategy in development—one of which is the probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy treatment (PPOIT), pioneered by Prof Mimi Tang of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. A 2013 clinical trial involving a mix of peanut flour and Lactobacillus rhamnosus—known to modulate the immune system by calming its response to triggers—cured 82 percent of its participants of their peanut allergy. A follow up study was conducted this year and found 80 percent of the cured patients were still able to eat peanuts without any immune response or complications. Tang said, ‘this particular probiotic has been shown in other situations to support tolerance-like responses. It creates an environment for the immune system to respond differently.’ A product based on the treatment, which involves gradually training the immune system to tolerate increasing amounts of peanut flour, could be sold commercially within the next five years. That probiotics can help cure one of the most prevalent and dangerous food allergies shows the untapped potential of this area of the industry—we’re all looking forward to the next big breakthrough.
Resveratrol for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common condition where endometrium is outside the uterus. Despite its high prevalence—176 million women globally or 10 percent of women of child-bearing age—little is known about its cause and there is no cure, with treatments aiming to reduce the severity of symptoms. The search for the most promising compounds for its treatments has identified resveratrol, a plant-derived polyphenolic phytoalexin that can slow down or event prevent the progression of a number of age-related diseases. A 2017 review has highlighted its potential as a safe and effective long-term treatment for endometriosis as it ‘demonstrates broad-spectrum health beneficial effects, including anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and antioxidant’. In animal model, resveratrol supplementation was shown to increase antioxidant capacity and decrease lipid peroxidation, while also reducing ‘invasiveness of endometriotic stromal cells (ESCs) and suppressing their inflammatory responses’. Naturally found in red grape skin, Japanese knotweed and blueberries, resveratrol is a popular anti-ageing ingredient, with many documented health benefits and formulation possibilities.
Although breakfast is commonly regarded as the most important meal of the day, ‘few UK studies have examined differences in nutrient intakes between breakfast consumers and breakfast skippers among children and adolescents’. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found children who regularly eat breakfast are ‘more likely to meet recommended nutrient intake levels of key nutrients’. Breakfast consumption was only defined as the intake of at least 100 calories, but breakfast consumers were found to meet recommended nutrient intake levels for folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron and iodine—‘the overall nutritional profile of the children in terms of fibre and micronutrient intake was superior in frequent breakfast consumers’. Interestingly, there was no evidence to support the widespread idea skipping breakfast leads to higher calorie consumption later in the day. The authors added their study ‘supports the promotion of breakfast as an important element of a healthy dietary pattern in children’.