New study to examine fibre effect on asthma

Jun 15 2015

Associate Professor Lisa Wood

Respiratory researchers from the University of Newcastle and HMRI are looking into whether a high-fibre diet can reduce airway inflammation in people with asthma.

Associate Professor Lisa Wood, Dr Katherine Baines, Dr Bronwyn Berthon and Professor Peter Gibson believe that simply eating more dietary fibre may help control the respiratory symptoms.

They are recruiting for a randomised controlled clinical trial to find out how and why dietary fibre may help people with asthma.

“What you eat when you have asthma is important,” lead researcher Associate Professor Lisa Wood said. “Some foods may be detrimental for asthma sufferers, such as fast foods that are high in saturated fat, while things like fruit and vegetables are beneficial.

“We know from other trials that we’ve done at HMRI that people with asthma may not eat enough fibre, and that more fibre in the diet is related to better lung function and less inflammation in the airways.”

The researchers are encouraging adults who are interested in improving their asthma to enrol in the trial. They will provided with a fibre supplement – a powder that dissolves in water.

“When we eat soluble fibre, the healthy bacteria in our gut break fibre down to create compounds that travel into the bloodstream and have positive effects throughout the body,” Associate Professor Wood added.

“Our study will examine whether this process also improves lung health. Fibre has anti-inflammatory benefits so we want to look at how these benefits occur and understand the mechanisms behind them.

“Because there is currently no cure for asthma, the more we know about the effects of diet in asthma, the more we can help people to get their asthma under control.”

People who wish to participate in the trial can phone 4042 0116 or email  or

*Associate Professor Lisa Wood, Dr Katherine Baines, Dr Bronwyn Berthon and Professor Peter Gibson are from the University of Newcastle, researching in conjunction with HMRI’s VIVA program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.