Gut Germs May Underlie Western Allergies

Germs living in the gut may cause higher rates of allergies, chronic stomach upsets and even obesity among children living in rich industrialized countries, researchers reported on Monday.

They compared intestinal bacteria between European Union children and young villagers in remote Burkina Faso, and found enough differences to help explain disparities in chronic disease and obesity.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may support the development of probiotic products to help restore the ancient balance and keep humans leaner and healthier, the researchers said.