Dietary Fibers Suppress Allergic Reactions

Dietary fibers may not only be beneficial for the digestive system but also for the immune system. The short-chain fatty acids derived from fibers can have anti-inflammatory effects.

Short-chain fatty acids play crucial roles in interactions with the immune system, generated when the dietary fibers we consume are broken down by intestinal bacteria.

A study conducted by the University of Tokyo describes how these fatty acids are associated with allergic reactions.

Among the study’s conclusions is new information that two specific types of fatty acids can directly lead to the suppression of allergic reactions. These are butyric acid (or butanoic acid) and valeric acid (or pentanoic acid). These molecules influence mast cells—a type of fatty cell that acts as white blood cells. Mast cells are pivotal in allergic reactions; they react sharply to allergens and pathogens, releasing chemicals such as histamine that trigger inflammation. However, when mast cells interact with butyric or valeric acid, processes are initiated that inhibit the activation of white blood cells, thus suppressing allergic reactions.

Gut health is closely connected to other systems in the body, with the strongest link being to the immune system. Different bacteria and other microbes in the gut microbiota can aid the immune system in combating pathogens and establishing immune tolerance in white blood cells. However, the presence of specific microbes can have adverse effects on the immune system. Improper nutrition can foster harmful microbes in the gut, damaging the intestinal lining. This makes it easier for allergens to enter the intestines, leading to more potent allergic reactions.

The diversity of microbes in the gut microbiota directly influences the function of the entire body. Proper nutrition is crucial for brain health, as some bacteria can assist in the formation of certain beneficial neurotransmitters like serotonin. Bacteria also contribute to the health of the cardiovascular system, playing a vital role in regulating cholesterol and triglycerides. Microbes also aid in regulating blood sugar and affect the risk of developing diabetes.

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