Researchers in Australia aims to answer the question of whether a mother’s diet during pregnancy affects the likelihood of food allergies in children after birth. The five-year study involves a clinical trial of 650 mothers in Western Australia.

Lead by Professor Susan Prescott of the Telethon Kids Institute and University of Western Australia, the study will specifically look at fiber intake and whether a high-fiber diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding could reduce risks of a child developing food allergies.

Five years of human studies to build on successful animal studies.

After years of research involving animals and their diets, which seem to indicate that a high-fiber diet does reduce food allergy risk, the new study focuses on 650 mothers in Western Australia in a randomized control. Some will receive high-fiber supplements while others will receive low-fiber placebos during 18-20 weeks of pregnancy and beyond into breast feeding periods.

The assumption is that a higher fiber diet changes bacteria in the gut, influences metabolism, and improves newborns’ immunity.

The study is being funded by a $1.7 million grant from the National Health and Medical REsearch Council in Australia.

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