Dietary Intervention in Food Allergy: Microbiome, Epigenetic and Metabolomic interactions

Financed byInstituto de Salud Carlos III – ISCIII

Program : ERA-HDHL JFA2 “Nutrition & the Epigenome” (Epigenome)

Project Reference: AC18/00031

Role in the project: Coordinator

Duration: January 2019 to June 2023


Cumulative evidence suggests that food allergy (FA) is associated with a multitude of environmental factors including hygiene habits, antibiotic use, lifestyle changes and in particular, diet. Changes in nutrition can result in dysbiosis of the skin, gut and lung microbiota and generate changes in microbial metabolites produced, which may in turn produce epigenetic modifications. Current evidence supports the view that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in immune regulation and may represent a key-missing piece of the etiological puzzle for FA, at the interface between the environment and the genome. Dietary fiber can change the gut microbiota composition and therefore cause epigenome changes promoting health.

DIFAMEM aims to investigate the effects of FA treatment through intervention with a prebiotic dietary component, pectin, and using peach allergy as a model.

This project will advance our understanding on how the interaction between dietary components and gut microbiota composition leads to epigenetic changes that provoke the immune modulation, and establish new strategies for dietary intervention in FA, with potential applications for other immune-related diseases.



Publication Foods journal

Does the Food Ingredient Pectin Provide a Risk for Patients Allergic to Non-Specific Lipid-Transfer Proteins?


Pectin, a dietary fiber, is a polysaccharide that is widely used in food industry as a gelling agent. In addition, prebiotic and beneficial immunomodulatory effects of pectin have been demonstrated, leading to increased importance as food supplement. However, as cases of anaphylactic reactions after consumption of pectin-supplemented foods have been reported, the present study aims to evaluate the allergy risk of pectin. This is of particular importance since most of the pectin used in the food industry is extracted from citrus or apple pomace. Both contain several allergens such as non-specific lipid transfer proteins (nsLTPs), known to induce severe allergic reactions, which could impair the use of pectins in nsLTP allergic patients. Therefore, the present study for the first time was performed to analyze residual nsLTP content in two commercial pectins using different detection methods. Results showed the analytical sensitivity was diminished by the pectin structure. Finally, spiking of pectin with allergenic peach nsLTP Pru p 3 led to the conclusion that the potential residual allergen content in both pectins is below the threshold to induce anaphylactic reactions in nsLTP-allergic patients. This data suggests that consumption of the investigated commercial pectin products provides no risk for inducing severe reactions in nsLTP-allergic patients.



Publication Clinical Nutrition

Health outcomes associated with vegetarian diets: An umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses


Several meta-analyses evaluated the association between vegetarian diets and health outcomes. To integrate the large amount of the available evidence, we performed an umbrella review of published meta-analyses that investigated the association between vegetarian diets and health outcomes.



During the 28th – 29th November 2022, the first face-to-face meeting since de begginig of the pandemic of DIMEM project took place in Nancy (France).

Know more about the event clicking here


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