The work, published in Cell Reports, revealed that a serving of bran and a few dried apricots were enough to prevent the onset of allergies.
The findings also reveal insights into the communication between the immune system and gut bacteria in preventing a life threatening allergic response.
According to Monash University scientists, the lack of fibre in today’s diets may be behind the rise in allergies.
By using the data garnered from this study, they believe a probiotic therapy that recolonizes the gut and a prebiotic could work together to prevent or even reverse allergies.
In the study, mice that were allergic to peanuts were placed on a high-fibre diet. They observed a ‘reshaping’ of the gut and colon microbiota that exerted a protective effect against food allergies.
“The microbiota in the gut aided the immune system in resisting allergies by breaking down the fibre into short-chain fatty acids (SFA),” the team noted.
“SFAs have a strengthening effect on dendritic cells, which go on to determine whether an allergic response is initiated.”
Previous studies have shown dendritic cells require a certain amount of vitamin A, another nutrient that is in abundance in vegetables and fruits.
The researchers thought that low levels of vitamin A and SFAs could promote food allergies in infants. This may explain why the highest prevalence of allergies occurs in children and infants.
Source: Cell Reports
Published online ahead of print, doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.047
“Dietary Fiber and Bacterial SCFA Enhance Oral Tolerance and Protect against Food Allergy through Diverse Cellular Pathways.”
Authors: Charles McKay et al.