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Study

High Fiber Diets can help relieve Asthma

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Study

  1. 1. Study: Moms who eat fiber-rich diets are less likely to have kids with asthma
  2. 2. Yup, your breakfast could help your asthma. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) WRITTEN BY Deena Shanker June 23, 2015 Asthma continuesto be a major problemthroughout
  3. 3. the world. Globally, it is the most common chronic disease in children, according to the World Health Organization. In the US, 8.3% of children had asthma in 2013. It is the third leading cause of hospitalizationsfor children under15, and is a leading cause of school absenteeism. But there’s good news: A high-fiber diet may help prevent asthma, accordingto a new study from Nature Communications, and those benefits may be passed down during pregnancy. The researchers found, in mice, a high-fiber diet could suppress allergic airways disease (AAD), which is similar to asthma in humans. They also found that the adult offspring of mice fed this diet didn’t develop “robust”AAD and that similar correlationsexist in humans. The researchers started by feeding groups of mice three different diets—control, high-fiber and low- fiber—and testing their feces and blood for the composition of their gut microbiota (or community of microorganisms) and levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). (SCFAs had previously been connected to T regulatory cells, Tregs, which are found in lower numbers and are less functional in asthmatics.) The results were clear: The amount of fiber in the diet had an impact on both the amount and kind of microbials
  4. 4. in the mice. The mice on the high-fiber diet also had higher levels of SCFAs, particularlyacetate, leading the researchers to concludethat a high-fiber diet changes the composition of the microbiota in the gut to producemore SCFAs. Next, to understand how the microbiota and SCFAs impacted asthma, the mice were again fed the three different diets, and, for some, acetatewas added to the drinking water. During days 12-15, the mice were exposed to house-dust mites to induceAAD in a way similar to asthma in humans. Unlike the rest of the mice, the ones eating the high-fiber diet or drinking the acetate-ladenwater did not develop AAD. (However, in mice that already developed AAD, the acetate did not help.)The researchers then arrived at their next conclusion:A high-fiber diet and, in particular, the consumption of acetate, “protects against the development of AAD.” The researchers also tested pregnant mice. After feeding the pregnant mice the high-fiber diets or acetate water, their offspring were weaned at 3 weeks onto the control diet. At 6 weeks, AAD was induced. However, AAD failed to develop. This was true both in younger offspring and older. Because the same was not true when the high-fiber diet or acetatewas consumed during lactation, the researchers concluded
  5. 5. that the impact happensin utero. In pregnant women, high-fiber diets also lead to higher SCFA levels, the researchers found. They also note an association between mothers with higher- than-median acetate levels and “a significant decrease” in the percentage of their infants that had to make two or more doctorvisits for coughing and wheezing, as well as less parent-reportedwheezing. Bottomline: On top of lowering cholesteroland helping digestion, fiber-rich foods like beans and fruit may also help you and your future children breathemore easily.

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