Infants who lack certain types of gut bacteria in the first few months of life may be at increased risk for asthma when they’re older, a new study from Canada suggests.
In the study, researchers examined the gut bacteria of more than 300 infants when they were 3 months old. Those who had low levels of four specific types of gut bacteria were much more likely to be diagnosed with asthma at age 3 than were infants who had normal levels of these gut bacteria. The four bacteria are Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella and Rothia, which the researchers combined into the acronym FLVR.
What’s more, in a mouse study, animals that had low levels of the FLVR bacteria developed airway inflammation, but this symptom was reduced when the researchers gave the mice supplements of these four bacteria.
The findings suggest that disturbances in these gut bacteria may play a role in the development of asthma, and that providing infants with certain types of “good” bacteria, known as probiotics, at the right time in life, may reduce these babies’ risk of the disease, the researchers said.
“This discovery gives us new potential ways to prevent this disease that is