Fibre and vitamin A key to preventing allergies

Journal paper Cell Reports, suggests that a simple bowl of bran and some dried apricots in the morning could prevent allergies. It also reveals how the immune system works with the good bacteria in the gut to help protect against life-threatening allergic responses.

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

Jian Tan, at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, has found that mice allergic to peanuts were protected against the allergy when fed a high-fibre diet. The study revealed that eating a high-fibre diet actually changes the bacteria in the gut to protect against food allergies.

The researchers made a statement that 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.  The increased levels of short-chain fatty acids switch these cells to stop the allergic response.

However, these specialised dendritic cells require vitamin A, another factor which can only be obtained through the diet. This also explained why the highest prevalence of allergies occurs in children and infants, as there are the groups of deficiency of vitamin A.

Now, make sure your children get enough Fibre and vitamin A, and kiss goodbye to allergies such as to peanuts.

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