Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 325–333

Dietary Immunomodulatory Factors in the Development of Immune Tolerance

  • Christina E. West
  • Nina D’Vaz
  • Susan L. Prescott
Article

Abstract

Emerging evidence suggests that exposures during pregnancy and the early postnatal period can modify gene expression and disease propensity. Diet is a major environmental exposure, and dietary factors, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, probiotics, oligosaccharides, antioxidants, folate, and other vitamins, have effects on immune function. Some also have been implicated in reduced risk of allergy in observational studies. Intervention trials with polyunsaturated fatty acids, probiotics, and oligosaccharides suggest preliminary but as-of-yet-unconfirmed benefits. Food allergen avoidance during pregnancy, lactation, or infancy has provided no consistent evidence in allergy prevention and is no longer recommended. Rather, there is now a focus on food allergens in tolerance induction. Specific nutrients can induce changes in gene expression during early development and have been implicated in potentially heritable “epigenetic” changes in disease predisposition. Collectively, these observations emphasize that early exposures may modify tolerance development and that further research on these exposures should remain a priority.

Keywords

Allergy prevention Immune tolerance Dietary immunomodulatory factors Antioxidants Complementary feeding Folate Vitamin D Polyunsaturated fatty acids Prebiotics Probiotics 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina E. West
    • 1
  • Nina D’Vaz
    • 2
  • Susan L. Prescott
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Sciences, PediatricsUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.School of Paediatrics and Child Health ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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