A new study published in Nature Medicine suggests that eating a high-fiber diet may help reduce lung inflammation associated with asthma.
In their study in mice, scientists in Switzerland discovered that a high-fiber diet set off a chain reaction that reduced lung inflammation. The high fiber diet was seen to alter the ratio of certain lung and gut microbes.
It was found that when these microbes ‘eat’ the fiber, the output is what are known as short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, which in turn help signal the immune system to a non-allergic response in the lungs.
Conversely, mice fed a low-fiber diet had decreased levels of SCFAs and increased allergic airway disease.
While the results are promising, a study examining the effect in humans is still needed to learn more about high-fiber diets and asthma.
“There’s a very high probability it works in humans,” study author Dr. Benjamin Marsland told the BBC. “But we don’t know what amount of fiber would be needed and the concentrations of short-chain fatty acids required might be different.”