Children Growing Up on Dairy Farms Have Stronger Immunity Against Allergies

First Posted: Jul 10, 2014 09:41 AM EDT

Children who live on dairy farms have stronger immune systems and are less vulnerable to allergies.

Researchers found that children who grow up on dairy farms have one-tenth risk of developing allergies.

Children in western societies have less exposure to microorganisms and have fewer infections compared to the previous generation, researchers say. This affects the immune system and increases the risk of allergic diseases.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy say in a press release that pregnant women might benefit from spending some time on dairy farms as it promotes fetal immunity. For the study, they monitored children until the age of three who lived in the rural areas and examined the maturation of the immune system. The study found that children who live on dairy farms have  lesser chances of developing allergies than those who live in urban areas.

Anna -Carin Lundell, a study researcher says  B-cells are the risk factor for developing allergies.

Children from 18 to 36 months have higher percentage of allergic diseases as they have more number of immature B-cells in their blood. More research is needed to corroborate the correlation between delays of B-cell maturation during the neonatal period.

"We need to identify the specific factors on dairy farms that strengthen protection against allergies and appear to promote maturation of the immune system as early as the fetal stage," Lundell said.

Further examination on children above the age 8 will be carried forward by Gothenburg researchers.

The article 'High proportion of CD5+ B-cells in infants predicts development of allergic disease' was published online in the Journal of Immunology.

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