High-Fiber Diet Rich With Vitamin A Could Be The Ansewer To Food Allergies, Study Says

First Posted: Jun 27, 2016 06:37 AM EDT

A new study has recently found that a high-fiber diet rich in Vitamin A may transform gut bacteria in a particular way to prevent or change food allergies.

According to Food and Wine, researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute shared their belief that not having enough fiber in the diet may be the cause of the recent rise in food allergies around the world. By just adding oatmeal, apricots and other foods high in fiber to the diet, it could be a key to strengthening the part of the immune system that fights off possibly life-threatening allergies.

Co-senior author Laurence Macia and her colleagues came to their conclusion after studying mice that were artificially bred to have peanuts allergy. For the study, the researchers fed some of the mice a high-fiber diet rich in Vitamin A, which is commonly found in many fruits and vegetables, while others were given a diet with an average fiber, sugar, and calorie content (control).

Medical News Today reported that the researchers found that the mice fed with high-fiber diet had less severe allergic reactions to peanuts than those mice fed with the control diet. A closer analysis by the researchers stated that the high-fiber diet changed the gut bacteria of mice, thus protecting them to have allergic reactions to peanuts.

After that, researchers took some altered gut bacteria from mice fed with the high-fiber diet and transferred it to the guts of mice with a peanut allergy that were "germ-free" meaning they didn't develop any gut microbes.

According to Science Daily, even though the second group of mice did not have a lot of fiber in their diet, they were still protected against allergy. They also showed less severe response when exposed to peanuts. Charles Mackay, co-author in the study said that the mice's microbiota was "reshaped" by the transplant. He add saying that the mice clearly changed mechanisms in responding to fiber and its byproducts. "It's almost an essential component of their nutritional health," he says.

"My theory is that the beneficial bacteria that predominate under consumption of fiber promote the development of regulatory T cells, which ensures the bacteria have a healthy, anti-inflammatory system to thrive in," says Macia. "So it's a win-win for everybody."

Their findings were supported when the team gave the allergic mice water enriched with short-chain fatty acids for 3 weeks, before exposing them to peanuts. Their allergic response was reduced.

Both researchers expressed cautious optimism that their results can be effective in humans, and further preclinical trials would be required before studying the fiber-allergy relationship in people. "Right now, we need to identify what form of fiber to give," says Macia. "That's the main limitation at this stage."

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