A recent Japanese study reveals that the presence of a dog or cat during fetal development or early childhood could significantly reduce the risk of food allergies in children. Find out how our four-legged friends could protect us from this growing scourge.
Pets to fight food allergies
Food allergies affect nearly 5% of children in France, and their incidence is increasing. Previous research has already suggested that exposure to farm animals during pregnancy and early childhood may reduce the risk of developing this type of sensitivity. But what about our most common pets, dogs and cats?
A promising Japanese study
In a study published in the journal Plos One, researchers from the Fukushima Regional Center for the Study of the Environment and Children in Japan addressed this issue. They analyzed data from the Japan Environment and Children's Study, which involves over 66,000 children. About 22% of these young participants were exposed to pets during and after the fetal period.
Surprising results: dogs and cats may prevent food allergies
The results are startling: children exposed to indoor dogs were less likely to be allergic to eggs, milk and nuts. Those whose parents owned a cat were less allergic to eggs, wheat and soy. In other words, the presence of these pets may have a protective effect against food allergies in children.
Mechanisms still unexplained
Unfortunately, the authors of the study do not provide explanations for these surprising observations. Their study is only observational and it is difficult to establish a causal link. However, these results could help guide future research into the mechanisms behind childhood food allergies. Perhaps our dog and cat friends hold the key to combating this growing public health problem.
An avenue to explore in the fight against food allergies
In sum, this Japanese study opens the way to new perspectives for understanding and preventing food allergies in children. While the exact mechanisms remain unexplained, the presence of dogs and cats during pregnancy and early childhood could be beneficial to the health of our children.
So, if you were still hesitating to adopt a pet, this discovery might just convince you to take the plunge. In addition to bringing love and companionship to your family, our four-legged friends may well help protect your children's health. Don't underestimate the power of these adorable fur balls!
I was an intern at the editorial office. When I saw their ad for a freelancer, I decided to come back. I'm a fan of series and movies, I spend my weekends at the cinema and my nights in front of Netflix