CANBERRA, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Fiber supplements could be used as a treatment to asthma, an Australian study has shown.
As an estimated 300 million people worldwide are suffering from asthma, a breathing condition which affects the airways to the lungs, the Australian-led research has shown that fiber supplements can be used to treat asthma in a world-first, non-pharmacological treatment for people with the disease.
Professor Peter Gibson, president of the Thoracic Society for Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) said the discovery could lead to further dietary treatments of the condition.
"This is the first time anyone has looked at the impact of altering the gut microbiome on asthma control in humans. We're at the tip of a new paradigm for how diet can be used to treat asthma," Gibson said in a statement released on Monday.
"For many obese asthmatics, using puffers to control their asthma simply isn't working and it has doctors baffled. These studies which shed light on how diet can impact asthma by its effect on the gut microbiome and airway inflammation - hold particular significance for this group."
Scientists at the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs gave a number of "stable asthmatics" regular supplements containing inulin, a soluble fiber supplement.
They found the fiber supplements altered the gut microbiome which then had a positive effect on asthma control and reduced airway inflammation, something lead researchers Professor Lisa Wood said was a "ground-breaking" discovery.
"This ground-breaking research offers hope of a viable, complementary treatment for tens of millions of asthmatics around the world struggling to control their asthma with existing medications," Wood said.
"These studies show how vitally important it is that Australians eat a healthily and how fundamental healthy gut bacteria are to our well-being."