September 30, 2013
Life On The Farm May Translate To Life Without Allergies
[ Watch the Video: Farm Life Can Alleviate Allergies ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Aarhus University researchers found that exposure to a farming environment could prevent or dampen hypersensitivities and allergies.
Researchers, publishing a paper in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that adults who move to farming areas may reduce the symptoms of their hypersensitivities and allergies considerably. Making the move to a farm community would increase the experience of a wider range of environmental exposures than what many experience in an urban setting.
The immune system of people who work in farming is frequently exposed to a wide range of bacteria, fungi, pollen and other irritants, which may all trigger a response that protects the person against hypersensitivity. Someone who works in a farming environment may prevent or dampen hypersensitivity to the most widespread plant allergens, such as grass and birch pollen.
The positive effect on the immune system is seen both in people who have previously lived in urban environments and in adults who were born and raised in farming areas.
"Previously, the assumption was that only persons who had lived in farming areas while growing up would benefit from the environment's protective effect on the immune system. But now we can demonstrate that it's not too late simply because you are an adult," postdoc Grethe Elholm said in a statement.
The new research shows that it is possible to affect the immune system and hypersensitivity which may cause allergy and allergic asthma at a much later point in life than previously thought. This study is bringing researchers closer to discovering how to prevent allergies.
Scientists assumed that the absence of environmental exposure does not protect against hypersensitivity. However, living in an environment with a much higher level of environmental exposure than someone is used to can have a good impact on health. Exposure to the farming environment dampens the entire immune system's response to the environment because it stimulates the immune system.
"We cannot, however, simply recommend that people who suffer from allergies and hypersensitivities move to farms. Because they may also suffer from lung diseases such as asthma and would therefore become more ill due to the high concentrations of dust and particles found in stables and in agriculture in general," Elholm said in the statement.