Stressed out babies have more allergies

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Infants with low concentrations of the stress-related hormone cortisol develop fewer allergies than other infants. The cortisol levels are easily measured through the baby’s saliva and researchers are hopeful this will help with future allergy prevention.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published the report.

Allergies and asthma in children has increased in the last few decades. This has been especially true in the West. In Sweden, up to 40% of all children have measurable allergies. No one is sure why there has been an increase, but many point to a combination of environmental and lifestyle factors during pregnancy and early childhood to responsible.

“Psychosocial factors and the stress hormone cortisol are associated with allergic diseases,” explained Dr. Fredrik Stenius of the Department of Clinical Research and Education at Stockholm South General Hospital. “Our study found that children with low salivary cortisol levels as infants have a lower prevalence of allergies during the first to years of life, compared to other children.”

Previously this research team found a connection between low instances of allergy and children who lived an anthroposophic lifestyle. That is a lifestyle which embraces a combination of mind, body and spiritual balance and usually employs fewer medical interventions instead preferring natural remedies.

“And now we’ve found the same link in infants from families that follow anthroposophic lifestyles, and that they have relatively low levels of cortisol,” said Dr. Stenius whose PhD had a thesis on this very subject.

If stress regulation in infants and young children can be managed, perhaps incidences of allergies can be reduced.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

 
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