High fibre diet could rid allergies, Monash University study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd June 2016

PeanutsMost would not think that a diet lacking in fibre might be the cause of allergies, but success from Monash University have found evidence supporting this linkage.

Studying allergies, scientists at Monash University in Melbourne discovered eating a diet rich in fibre can possibly shape the immune system to reduce allergies to substances such as peanuts.

Reversal in mice proved

The study, performed largely by PhD student, Jian Tan, involved feeding a high-fibre diet to mice with a peanut allergy. According to Tan, the fibre appeared to reshape the gut and colon microbiota, and in effect reversed the allergy.

“The microbiota in the gut assist the immune system in resisting allergies through the breaking down of fibre into short-chain fatty acids. This opens up a potential route for drug therapy for allergies by delivering short-chain fatty acids as a treatment,” a release on the report states.

How the reaction works

The scientists further unravelled how a high fibre diet protects against allergies by discovering short-chain fatty acids boosted a particular subset of the immune system called dendritic cells, which control whether an allergic response against a food allergen 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. These specialised dendritic cells require vitamin A, another factor which can only be obtained through the diet, and is high in vegetables and fruits,” the release said.

Lack of Vitamin A contributing to the problem too

The scientists say although vitamin A deficiency in adults is uncommon, a deficiency in infants along with short-chain fatty acids could promote food allergies at a young age.

Tan said human trials now need to occur to help confirm whether a high-fibre diet could help humans with allergies.

The research is published in the Cells Report journal, Volume 15, Issue 12.