High-fiber (fibre) diet may protect against peanut allergy

A Melbourne-led study has found that mice with allergies to peanuts may beat the condition when they are fed high-fiber diets.

The new Monash University study, published in the journal Cell Reports, found mice allergic to peanuts were protected against the allergy when fed a high-fibre diet. The researchers suggest that eating a high-fiber diet changes bacteria in the stomach and this change can help protect against food allergies. This good gut ‘bacteria’ helps the immune system resist allergies through the breakdown of fibre in short-chain fatty acids – opening up the potential for new drug therapy for those with food allergies.

Scientist Jian Tan, a PhD student at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, says the study not only reveals how the immune system fails when a person becomes allergic, but how the immune system can be helped through diet to prevent or lessen the effects of allergies.

Further study is needed and the next step is to conduct trials with humans to determine how a high-fibre diet can protect against challenges with allergic foodstuffs.

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