A study from the University of Bonn demonstrates the success of a ketogenic diet against asthma. What exactly the researchers found and how a change in diet could lead to a decrease in respiratory inflammation.
Can a special diet help in some cases treat asthma? A new study at the University of Bonn suggests that Yes, it can. According to the study, mice that followed ketogenic diets experienced significantly reduced inflammation of the respiratory tract.
As is well known, patients with asthma react even at low concentrations of certain allergens with severe inflammation of the bronchi. This is also accompanied by increased mucus production, which makes breathing even more difficult.
The immune cells, which were discovered only a few years ago and called endogenous lymphocytes (Innate Lymphoid Cells, ILCs), play a key role here in the lungs by regenerating damaged mucous membranes.
This mechanism allows the body to quickly repair damage caused by harmful substances. The mucus then transfers the pathogens from the bronchides and protects the respiratory tract from re-infection.
However, with asthma, the inflammatory reaction is much stronger and greater than normal, resulting in breathing difficulties. But ILC multiply rapidly during this process and produce large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines. Scientists hope that if their division can be slowed down, it may be possible to control the excessive impact, i.e. asthma attacks.
Thus, deepening the function of these cells, ilc was found to use fatty acids to create the cell membrane. In other words, they absorb fatty acids from their environment and store them inside for a short time, before using them for energy or to make membranes.
But what would happen if cells are forced to use these fatty acids somewhere else? To answer this question, the researchers subjected asthmatic mice to a diet that contained mainly fats, but hardly any carbohydrates or proteins.
With this diet, also known as ketogenic diet, cell metabolism changes: Cells instantly acquire the energy they need from fat burning. However, this means that they do not have fatty acids, which are needed for the formation of new membranes during cell division.
As a result, ILC division activity in rodents fed on the specific diet decreased dramatically, while in experimental animals mucus production remained virtually unchanged and asthma symptoms decreased.
This is not only due to the transition to fats as an alternative source of energy and the consequent lack of fatty acids. Glucose deficiency probably also directly contributes to the reduced activity of ILCs.
Scientists now want to investigate in patients whether this diet can prevent asthma attacks. However, this is not completely without long-term risks and should only be carried out in consultation with a doctor.
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