Fiber Fights Food Allergies
Could a diet high in fiber and vitamin A—from lots of fruits and vegetables, for example—help prevent, and even reverse, dangerous food allergies? It seems so, according to a new study.
Published in the journal Cell Reports, the study attributes the improvements to changes in gut bacteria. According to researchers, short-chain fatty acids—produced when bacteria in the gut break down dietary fiber—and vitamin A work with the immune system to prevent certain cells in the body (called dendritic cells) from triggering an allergic reaction.
The CDC reports that approximately 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from food allergies, which cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. About 90% of all food allergies are caused by 8 culprits: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Alarmingly, the number of children and teens diagnosed with a food allergy rose about 18% from 1997 to 2007. The reasons for this are not well understood at this time, but one thing is clear: it’s important to find a way to fight food allergies.
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