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High Fiber, Vitamin A Diet Could Prevent Allergies, New Study Shows

Jun 24, 2016 02:18 AM EDT
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A new Australian study suggests that eating a simple bowl of bran and some dried apricots in the morning can help prevent allergies.

The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that eating a diet rich in fiber and vitamin A- rich can help shape the immune system to reduce allergies to substance such as peanuts. The study also revealed how the immune system works together with the good bacteria in the gut to help prevent fatal allergic responses.

For the study, researchers fed mice that were allergic to peanuts with high-fiber diet. The researchers noted that the fiber-rich diet may have protected the mice from allergies by reshaping the gut and colon microbiota.

According to a press release, the microbiota in the gut breaks down fiber into short-chain fatty acids. In turn, these 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.

This means that the higher consumption of fiber the more levels of short-chain fatty acid. And, increased levels of short-chain fatty acid switch the dendritic cells up, stopping the allergic response.

However, dentritic cells require vitamin A, which can also be through food consumption. Vitamin A deficiency is unusual in adults. The researchers then believe that less than the ideal levels of vitamin A together with low levels of short-fatty acids could promote food allergies in infants. This theory explains why most people with food allergies are children and infants.

The researchers are now planning to conduct a human trial to determine if high-fiber diet may have the same effect on humans. If the study was confirmed, their findings could lead to potential route for drug therapy for allergies by delivering short-chain fatty acids as a treatment.

Researchers also suggests that allergy treatments could use probiotics (beneficial bacteria) that recolonize the gut, or prebiotics (healthy foodstuffs) that could work together to prevent or reverse allergies.

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