Saturday, 14 May 2011
By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
The hygiene hypothesis. If you haven't heard this phrase before it refers to the idea that some illness is linked to living in an overly clean environment. This may certainly be the case with atopic disorders such as eczema, asthma and allergy.
Recent studies are now pointing toward environmental factors as contributing and predisposing individuals to these conditions. http://www.wholechildcenter.org/ACTatopy.pdf
The hygiene hypothesis suggests that certain individuals have reduced exposure to bacterial, viral and fungal antigens due to over use of cleaners, anti-bacterial agents and early life use antibiotic use. A reduced exposure to such antigens alters the GIT landscape and skewing it in a TH2 dominant position linked to atopy. This means Eczema, Asthma and Allergy.
Interestingly, studies have shown that children raised on farms and who are around livestock have fewer atopic symptoms and a far greater chance of developing Asthma and Allergy.