Promoting gut health (symbiosis) with prebiotic fibre for prevention of allergic disease
Allergic diseases including eczema, asthma, hay fever and food allergies now affect 30-40% of the Australian population.
One in every four children will suffer from eczema and asthma, while one in every ten children will have at least one food allergy.
We now know that a baby's immune system begins to develop even before birth, and that the mother's diet and her environment in pregnancy can have an important influence. Research shows that the mother's gut health may have important effects on the immune development of her baby.
'Prebiotics' is a general term for non-digestible dietary fibre that promote health and well-being by inducing the growth and/or activity of beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics occur naturally in grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit and breast milk. The supplement and dose to be used in this study has the demonstrated prebiotic properties of a high fibre diet, including favourable effects on gut bacteria and immune health.
This project will recruit pregnant women (during their routine antenatal visits to Joondalup Health Campus) to receive either a prebiotic supplement or a placebo supplement. They will be asked to take the supplement from 18-20 weeks gestation until their baby is 6 months of age. The study will then examine whether supplementing the mother's diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding with the prebiotic fibre will reduce the development of allergies in her child.
The aim of the SYMBA Study is to examine if a high fibre prebiotic supplement taken during pregnancy and while breastfeeding will reduce the risk of allergies in children, with potential benefit to other aspects of health, growth and development.