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Inflammation & Fibre: Mechanisms of Health Benefits

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

Why is there such a huge variability in the severity of corona virus infection: from no symptoms at all to lung failure, toxic shock and death? The answer is invariably associated with a disordered immune system.

An incredible study by Trompette et al from Lausanne published in 2018 report that a diet rich in fermentable fiber that in turn produces —short-chain fatty acids—mainly butyrate, improves the response of mice to influenza infection. The authors summarise their work in the last paragraph of their paper:

In summary, our data demonstrate that dietary fiber and SCFAs can protect against severe influenza infection by reducing tissue damage and by boosting adaptive anti-viral immunity. SCFAs have predominantly been associated with immunoregulation and the prevention of exaggerated inflammation (Maslowski et al., 2009,

Trompette et al., 2014); however, our work highlights a dual role of SCFAs. By tuning down excessive innate responses, promoting tissue-protective mechanisms, and stimulating specific adaptive immunity, dietary fiber and SCFAs can create an immune balance that ultimately protects against disease.