Could diet alterations ease asthma symptoms?

Digestive benefits of being a vegetarian

A research team based at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland has shown that high and low fibre diets can alter the types of bacteria living in the gut.

While this study is yet to reach human trials, so far the researchers have discovered that additional fibre changes the nutrients absorbed by the gut, which in turn alters the immune system and eases asthma symptoms.

Asthma is a common long-term condition, which causes coughing, wheezing and breathlessness. In individuals with asthma, the airways are more sensitive to irritation and are more likely to become inflamed – making it harder to breathe.

Interestingly, this new evidence is suggesting that the solution may lie in the gut, more specifically, in the bacteria that live there.

Apparently, bacteria which can feed off soluble fibre found in fruit and veg flourished on a high-fibre diet and in turn produced more short-chain fatty acids (fat that is absorbed into the blood).

According to the results of the study, these fatty acids acted as signals to the immune system, resulting in the lungs being more resistant to irritation and inflammation.

Low-fibre diets on the other hand had the opposite effect, with the mice becoming more vulnerable to asthma.

Though the study is still in it’s early days and further research is required, the outcome could be far reaching if diet is indeed found to have an impact.

There is lots of evidence to suggest that what we eat has a direct impact on our health, with studies such as this continuing to support this notion. Nutritionists specialise in analysing your diet to see if improvements can be made in a bid to boost your overall well-being. To find out more about how a professional nutritionist could benefit you, please see our Nutrition Topics section for more information.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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