Infants who developed intolerance to cow’s milk showed significant differences in gut bacteria after being treated with probiotics, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago has found. The study is published in The ISME Journal.

Previous research has shown that infants with cow’s milk allergy who are fed formula containing a form of the protein casein, developed greater tolerance when given Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) probiotic supplements compared to those treated with a non-probiotic formula.

Researchers conducted sequence analysis to find bacteria in stool samples collected from healthy infants, infants with cow’s milk allergy who were fed the LGG enriched probiotic formula, and infants who were fed the formula minus the added probiotics.

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Gut microbiomes of infants with a cow’s milk allergy was significantly different compared to healthy controls. Further, study authors found higher levels of of butyrate-producing bacteria were in the infants treated with the LGG probiotic formula who became tolerant to cow’s milk compared to those who were fed the probiotic formula but did not become tolerant. This suggests that tolerance associated with the acquisition of specific strains of bacteria that produce butyrate, which include Blautia and Coprococcus.

Researchers noted that identifying bacterial strains could be “used as novel therapeutics for treating food allergies.”

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