Get the best out of the right types of fibre to eliminate disease

Get the best out of the right types of fibre to eliminate disease

Not all fibre is created equal, and you should pick the best ones

Different foods contain various fibre grades, which help combat disease and promote a healthier lipid profile — especially for those who continue to eat a Westernised diet. Fibre is a type of carb that happens to be metabolised by gut microbiomes, usually undigested by humans. If we were to understand how these fibres affect human biochemistry, scientists would be able to create fibre supplementation that can further improve human health. Westernised diets do not provide adequate amounts of fruit and vegetable consumption — which can create long-term health risks such as diabetes, obesity, and emotional disorders like depression and anxiety. Michael Snyder, a geneticist at Stanford School of Medicine, set out with his colleagues to understand how two standard soluble fibres affect participants. These fibres are arabinoxylan (AX), common in whole grains, and long-chain inulin (LCI), found in onions, chicory root, and Jerusalem artichokes. 

The participants of this study consumed:

  • 10 grams of fibre per day during the first week, then
  • 20 grams during the second week, followed by
  • Thirty grams during the third week.

The results revealed different responses that collated with the altering of fibre consumption. Individual responses did seem to vary, and it was unfortunate that some participants showed no change in their cholesterol levels. But the interesting finding was that AX consumption significantly reduced LDL (bad blood cholesterol) and increased bile acids. LCI fibre was scrutinised, indicating a modest decrease in inflammation and increased gut microbiome Bifidobacterium. This bacteria helps to produce short-chain fatty acids. There was one problem with higher levels of this fibre, as it increased inflammation, which increased liver enzymes called alanine aminotransferase. Too much fibre can be very harmful to you! Some participants in this study also found that they experienced a negative response. More research is needed because this initial study did not have enough participants or time to provide better insights.


Key take away

The key message here is that fibre is beneficial according to the dose you consume, the type of fibre, and how someone reacts to the fibre source. I was unaware that taking the wrong kind of fibre too often can cause some liver imbalances — but that proves that more isn’t necessarily better. But, I must mention that fibre is available in the necessary doses if we eat enough fruit and vegetables daily. In that case, are we required to take supplementation if our diet is more than enough? The answer is not evident in this research piece. But if you are unsure, speak with your doctor so that you are not susceptible to the onset of negative symptoms. In that case, I will keep using nutrition as my medicine and bypass the need to have more fibre than is required. Do you eat enough vegetables and fruit to justify an adequate fibre intake? 

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