A new study in Southampton is exploring the effects of soluble fibre on the immune system.
Fibre is essential for healthy digestion – with strong evidence that diets higher in fibre are associated with a lower risk of certain diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
This latest study will investigate if fibre supplements could boost immune health in older people.
Researchers are recruiting around 70 participants aged over 60 in the Southampton area.
The research is led by Professor Philip Calder from the University of Southampton and NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.
Increasing fibre intake
Half of the study’s participants will take a soluble corn fibre supplement each day for 12 weeks. The other half will take a placebo supplement.
They will all complete questionnaires about their diet and gut health. They will also be asked to provide blood, urine and poo samples.
The research team will use this information to assess any improvements in immune function, inflammation and gut bacteria.
Immune system explained
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs. They work together to protect the body from infection and other diseases.
As with most other parts of the body, the immune system becomes weaker with age. This results in reduced vaccination responses and an increased risk of infection.
Research has shown that a person’s diet influences their immune system. Fibre helps to maintain “healthy” gut bacteria, which supports immune health.
Participant visits will take place at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton.
The study is open to people aged 60 and older. They must be in generally good health and living in the community.
All participants will have their travel expenses covered.
Please email E.Baker@soton.ac.uk or call 07584368983 to find out more.