Allergies: The Power of Breast Milk

“Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough,” explains Dr. Fuhrman and it seems to be the same with mice. Researchers believe breast milk protects mice from allergic asthma. Reuters reports:
Lactating mice that develop tolerance after exposure to airborne antigens appear to be able to transfer this immunity to their offspring though breast-milk.

The tolerance was transmitted to the newborn mice through breast milk and antigen-stimulated allergic asthma was prevented, a French research team reports in the advance online edition of Nature Medicine. Antigens are substances the body recognizes as foreign that trigger the immune system to mount a defensive reaction, which accounts for allergy symptoms.

Dr. Valerie Julia, at Universite de Nice-Sophia-Antipolis in Valbonne, and associates exposed lactating mice to ovalbumin aerosols every other day until their offspring were weaned. (Ovalbumin is the major protein in the white part of an egg.)
I’ll go ahead and add this to the pile of evidence supporting breastfeeding. Now, in case you didn’t get the memo, Dr. Fuhrman thinks breastfeeding is very important. Why? The magic’s in the milk! He explains:
The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer. The child’s immune system is still underdeveloped until age of two, the same age when the digestive tract seals the leaks (spaces between cells) designed to allow the mother’s antibodies access to the bloodstream. So picking the age of two as the length of recommended breast-feeding is not just a haphazard guess, it matches the age at which the child is no longer absorbing the mother’s immunoglobulins to supplement their own immune system. Nature designed it that way.
I’ve seen the word dozens of times, but I’m telling you, immunoglobulins would be a killer name for a rock bad. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Immunoglobulins!”

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman wanted to add his two cents to this article. Enjoy:
Wow, I am amazed that they could find all those women who would let mice nurse from their breasts!! I guess it was a better choice than rats.
I'm still laughing!
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jennifer Cochran - January 30, 2008 1:14 PM

Oh I got a little fired up reading this. I am aware of Dr Fuhrmans stance on breastfeeding until the age of two, but as new mom myself, it can be REALLY hard to keep your milk supply going despite your every effort. I am afraid that many women reading this will feel guilty and much like a faliure if they cannot keep the process going. I have just gone back to work and I feel I am working like a dog just to keep the supply going and keep my son interested in my breasts!! So, my point is, a lot of women want to give their child the best nutrition they can, but sometimes the body does not cooperate; and to all the women out there busting their butts to keep the milk flowing...way to go and keep it up!!

Barbara - January 30, 2008 4:09 PM

This is great information. There is so much out there that keeps women from breastfeeding successfully, such as pour nutrition, not enough water, breast pumps and working full time. Here is a good reason to do what is needed to to keep on giving our children what they need. Forget the guilt. Guilt is about you and not about what your child needs. Do what your child needs. If you can't figure out how to do it, get help. And beware of the average hospital's lactation consultant. Her advice may not be accurate. Breastfeeding until around two is very do-able! It's so worth it to see how healthy my kids are now.

sarah - May 15, 2008 3:35 PM

I would just like to say that I breastfed my son till he was three and a half years old and he has severe allergies including a life threatening peanut allergy.
I personally think that the rise in allergies and autism in children is being caused by toxins like mercury from vaccines and amalgam fillings as well as the mass use of antibiotics these days.
Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial to childrens health but won't necessarily prevent allergies.

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