Preventing Food Allergies with Diet High in Fiber and Vitamin A

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For people suffering from food allergies, making it a habit to include fiber-rich food such as dried apricots, pears, apples and oatmeal in the diet, may help prevent allergies.

Food Allergies

About 0.6 percent of children in the United States suffer from peanut allergy albeit 20 percent of these kids will outgrow the allergy when they become adults.

In the new research, which was published in the journal Cell Reports on June 21, researchers said that the rising rate of allergies worldwide may be blamed on the lack of fiber in our diets.

Jian Tan, from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and colleagues fed mice that were allergic to peanuts with high-fiber diet and found that the animals were protected against the allergy. The fiber appears to provide protection to the animals by reshaping the microbiomes of the gut and colon.

Gut bacteria helps the body’s immune system resist allergies by breaking down fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which in turn boost a subset of the immune system known as dendritic cells that control the body’s responses against potential food allergens.

Increased levels of short-chain fatty acids switch dendritic cells to stop allergic response to food. A lack of fiber intake, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. The dendritic cells also require vitamin A, which can be obtained in fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.

The researchers said that having less than the ideal level of vitamin A and short-chain fatty acids promotes food allergies which can help explain the high incidence of allergies in children.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest of possible treatments that may help prevent or even reverse food allergies.

Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria to recolonize the gut, and prebiotics, non-digestible ingredients in food that help promote growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, may be used in allergy treatments to prevent or reverse allergies.

“In the present study, we report that dietary fiber together with vitamin A plays a key role in promoting CD103+ DC function, oral tolerance, and protection from food allergy,” the researchers wrote in their study.

“These findings support the notion that diets deficient in fiber, typical of many western countries, could underlie the rise of food allergies in recent decades.”

Source: Jian Tan, Craig McKenzie, Peter J. Vuillermin, et.al. Dietary Fiber and Bacterial SCFA Enhance Oral Tolerance and Protect against Food Allergy through Diverse Cellular Pathways, Cell Reports, Vol 15, Issue 12, p2809–2824, 21 June 2016.