Do your children grow up close to nature? According to an experiment coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute (Luke) in Finland, this should strengthen the immune system. This pilot study was conducted in about ten nurseries in the Finnish cities of Lahti and Tampere, which received 75 children aged 3 to 5 years from urban areas.

Children’s immune system is better regulated after exposure to green

The children were divided into two groups, and the researchers followed them for about a month. While some played in nursery yards of concrete and gravel, others played in landscaped green spaces with grass and plants. The conclusion of the experiment is clear: the immune systems of the children who benefited from green spaces were better regulated. The diversity of microbes in the gut and on the skin is also significantly healthier.

Compared to other children who played in urban nurseries without any form of green space, the children of “green daycares” showed important immunological signs, such as increased T cells — or T lymphocytes — which are very important for disease regulation. of immune defenses.

Previous studies have already demonstrated the beneficial effects of early exposure to green spaces. These were indeed related, one way or another, to the proper functioning of the immune system.

Nature reduces the risk of immune-related diseases

When the first study of biodiversity was published in science progress In October 2020, Marja Roslund, an environmental specialist at the University of Helsinki, advocated the importance of nature for children: “We also found that the gut microbiomes of children who were given green spaces were similar to the gut microbiomes of children who visit the forest every day.

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Thus an environment rich in greenery and living organisms will have a positive effect on the immune system. This idea, called the “biodiversity hypothesis,” is supported by the study’s authors. According to them, urban spaces benefiting from low diversity would be more conducive to the development and increase of immune-related diseases.

The trial conducted in Finland is the first to test changes in microorganisms and therefore the immune system of children in relation to the environment. Although the results are still partial, this discovery could strengthen our relationship with nature.

Source : science progress

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