Westernised diets, which rely heavily on processed foods, are often low in fibre. A low fibre intake has many negative effects, including the development of an unhealthy gut bacteria profile, which can impair the immune system. Recent data from models and pilot data from adults with asthma suggests that a low fibre diet worsens asthma and airway inflammation, via several key mechanistic pathways. Here we will examine these key immune pathways in children with asthma, to identify any abnormalities which may be corrected with appropriate interventions.
We will recruit children with healthy lungs and compare them to children with asthma. We will collect blood and faeces, so that we can examine differences in the gut bacteria and then relate these differences to changes in the blood and airways. This will allow us to determine whether a soluble fibre intervention might be a useful strategy for improving childhood asthma management. This would be an exciting new development, providing a simple, inexpensive alternative, which is likely to be well accepted and adopted by both children and their carers.