Picture Raquel Welch in a skintight diving suit being attacked by evil green slimy antibodies in the classic 1960s sci-fi movie, Fantastic Voyage and you’ve pretty much got the latest major breakthrough in eczema and allergy research.
In January this year researchers in the US added atopic dermatitis (aka eczema) to the growing list of autoimmune diseases. Automimmune diseases develop when your immune system decides that some of your healthy cells are foreign and launch a deadly attack – among the diseases already included on the list are Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
The discovery was made in the US during research into a new drug called dupilumab, a ‘monoclonal antibody’ which, according to a report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology , “can reverse the immune response that causes atopic dermatitis skin lesions.”
Dupilumab acts to turn off the responses of two very specific proteins that are responsible for the immune system turning on itself causing flare-ups of eczema.
Great news, but this stuff is likely to take a number of years to get through trials and turn up on your GP’s radar so what can we do with this information right now?
Shann Jones director of The Chuckling Goat, believes that goats milk kefir, an Eastern European probiotic drink, can help to alter the response of the immune system and reduce allergic inflammation.
“Kefir modulates the immune system,” says the Chuckling Goat website. “Certain compounds in kefir may play a role in regulating immune function, allergic response, and inflammation. One study found that kefiran, a sugar by product of the kefir culture, may reduce allergic inflammation by suppressing mast cell degranulation and cytokine production. Another study found that certain bacteria in the kefir culture inhibited IgE production, helping to moderate the body’s allergic response.”
The Chuckling Goat offers a 21-day course of their probiotic goat’s milk kefir with the claim that it will permanently repopulate your gut with the good bacteria that effectively helps the immune system work out who are the goodies and baddies when it comes to fighting off infections and foreign bodies.
I heard Shann being interviewed on the radio a few weeks back and was persuaded to give the kefir a whirl – could this really be a natural, drug-free alternative to dealing with the evil antibodies who have simply chosen to fight for the wrong side?
My bottles arrived this week (beautifully packaged and nicely chilled). So, I’ve zipped up my jumpsuit and I’m diving in. As recommended by the Chuckling Goat, I’m keeping a diary of how I feel as the days go by and I’ll share my fantastic voyage with you as I progress through the course. Wish me luck!