Could fibre be the secret to cutting allergies?
A new Australian study has found a diet rich in fibre can help shape the immune system and could reduce allergens to substances such as peanuts.
The study, published in Cell Reports, reveals the immune system works with good bacteria in the gut to help protect against allergic responses.
The researchers wrote that a lack of fibre could be behind the rise in allergies and suggest allergy treatments could be treated using probiotics or prebiotics to help prevent or reverse allergies.
They suggest a simple bowl of bran with some dried apricots in the morning could prevent allergies.
Scientists including Jian Tan, a PhD student at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, found that mice allergic to peanuts were protected when fed a high-fibre diet. The fibre appeared to reshape the gut and colon microbiota.
The scientists found that short-chain fatty acids boosted a subset of the immune system called dendritic cells which controls whether an allergic reaction happens or not.
“Effectively, increased levels of short-chain fatty acids switch these cells to stop the allergic response, while a lack of fibre may have an opposite effect,” Monash University wrote.
The specialised dendritic cells require Vitamin A, which can only be obtained through a diet that is high in vegetables and fruit.
“These findings support the notion that diets deficient in fibre, typical of many western countries, could underlie the rise of food allergies in recent decades,” the authors wrote in the study.