Bugging allergy; role of pre-, pro- and synbiotics in allergy prevention

Christina E. West, Majda Dzidic, Susan L. Prescott, Maria C. Jenmalm

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Large-scale biodiversity loss and complex changes in social behaviors are altering human microbial ecology. This is increasingly implicated in the global rise in inflammatory diseases, most notably the “allergy epidemic” in very early life. Colonization of human ecological niches, particularly the gastrointestinal tract, is critical for normal local and systemic immune development and regulation. Disturbances in composition, diversity and timing of microbial colonization have been associated with increased allergy risk, indicating the importance of strategies to restore a dysbiotic gut microbiota in the primary prevention of allergic diseases, including the administration of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. Here, we summarize and discuss findings of randomized clinical trials that have examined the effects of these microbiome-related strategies on short and long-term allergy preventative effects – including new guidelines from the World Allergy Organization which now recommend probiotics and prebiotics for allergy prevention under certain conditions. The relatively low quality evidence, limited comparative studies and large heterogeneity between studies, have collectively hampered recommendations on specific probiotic strains, specific timing and specific conditions for the most effective preventive management. At the same time the risk of using available products is low. While further research is needed before specific practice guidelines on supplement probiotics and prebiotics, it is equally important that the underlying dietary and lifestyle factors of dysbiosis are addressed at both the individual and societal levels.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)529-538
    Number of pages10
    JournalAllergology International
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Bugging allergy; role of pre-, pro- and synbiotics in allergy prevention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this