The impact of diet on immunity and respiratory diseases

Tomasz P. Wypych, Benjamin J. Marsland, Niki D.J. Ubags

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


TheWestern world has witnessed a tremendous increase in the occurrence of allergy and autoimmunity in the second half of the 20th century. Extensive efforts have beenmade to explain this phenomenon and various hypotheses have been formulated. Among them, two concepts have attracted the most attention: the "hygiene hypothesis," identifying the reduced exposure to environmental microorganisms as a driving force behind the observed epidemiological trends; and the "diet hypotheses," pointing to the importance of changes in our dietary habits. In this review, we discuss the interplay between theWestern diet, microbiota, and inflammatory conditions, with particular emphasis on respiratory diseases. This is followed by an in-depth overview of the immunomodulatory potential of different dietary fatty acids. We conclude by identifying the outstanding questions, which, if answered, could shed further light on the impact of dietary habits on immunity and interconnect itwith postulates proposed by the hygiene hypothesis. Linking these two concepts will be an important step towards understanding howWestern lifestyle shapes disease susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S339-S347
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventTransatlantic Airway Conference: Obesity and Associated Changes in Metabolism: Implications for Lung Diseases - Lucerne, Switzerland
Duration: 18 Jan 201720 Jan 2017


  • Fatty acids
  • Microbiome
  • Western diet

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