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The incidence of allergic diseases is increasing, both in developed and developing countries, concomitantly with the rise in living standards and the adoption of a western lifestyle . For two decades, the hygiene hypothesis - which proposes that the lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents increases susceptibility to allergic diseases in later life - provided the conceptual framework for unravelling the mechanisms that could account for the increased incidence of allergic diseases. In this Review, we discuss recent evidence that highlights the role of diet as a key factor influencing immune homeostasis and the development of allergic diseases through a complex interplay between nutrients, their metabolites and immune cell populations. Although further investigations are still required to understand these complex relationships, recent data have established a possible connection between metabolic homeostasis and allergic diseases.
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