asthma-2-350x122Parents of children with autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies (often called “the 4 A’s”}, report that their children are frequently prescribed antibiotics. A recent study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine says that impaired viral immunity and genetic variants on a region of chromosone 17 raise the likelihood of antibiotic use in childhood and the later development of asthma. Scientists disagree as to whether it is the antibiotics themselves that cause the problem or the genetic variants.

    The Lancet study says the link between asthma and antibiotics is due to the “hygiene hypothesis,” because children are now exposed to fewer microbes than in times past. Separate research published the same month (May 2014) in The Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology demonstrates that alterations in the gastrointestinal flora compromise childrens’ immune systems, making them more likely to develop asthma. Of course, in chronic conditions, there is often more than one cause. To be safe, the use of antibiotics should be minimized in children suffering from one or more of “the 4 A’s.”

    One allergy is a likely contributor to the development of asthma in children. Several studies have linked pepsinogen, a digestive enzyme produced by the body in reaction to food proteins, to ear infections. On study showed 83 percent of children with ear infections tested positive for pepsinogen, which, when a child lies on his back, can flow up into the throat and drip into the middle ear. This fosters bacterial growth. A cough at night may be the only sign this is taking place. The source of this reaction appears to be milk. Even if a child does not test positive for allergy to dairy, this reflux mechanism may be occurring.

    Parents can do two things to protect children against asthma. The first is to breastfeed. Studies show that breast milk is a rich source of white blood cells, antibodies, and has a greater antioxidant action than cows’ milk. In babies who are not nursed there is disruption of the lining of the intestines, damaging the immune system. The second is to avoid early feeding of food treated with antibiotics. In the United States, 80 percent of antibiotics are used on livestock. Meat that has been raised with antibiotics should be avoided.

    The best “natural antibiotics” are garlic, honey, coconut, and colloidal silver. When parents find a holistic physicians, a new world of options opens up.