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Dietary Plant Fibers May Boost Immune System

A new study published in the January 2010 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dietary plant fibers called polysaccharides may boost the immune system.

For the study, researchers from St George's University of London recruited 12 participants and monitored their immune system function by measuring plasma glycan profiles for a period of seven weeks.

After the 7 week period, the researchers gave the participants a supplement that contained polysaccharides from brown seaweed and aloe vera. The researchers steadily increased the dose of the supplement from 1.3 grams per day for weeks 1-4 to 5.2 grams per day for the final 7-8 weeks of supplementation.

The researchers found that the supplements significantly increased the participant’s immune response and that this increase was more substantial at higher doses.

These findings further the science directly connecting diet with health. While further research is still necessary, boosting the immune system may soon be added to the list of benefits associated with dietary plant fibers.

These benefits already include improving blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, alleviating joint pain, colon and liver health, and boosting the immune system. Some foods high in dietary plant fibers include dates, oatmeal, apples and broccoli.

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