Diets Rich in Fiber Protect Against Gut Infection and Inflammation, Study Shows

Diets Rich in Fiber Protect Against Gut Infection and Inflammation, Study Shows
People who eat foods with too little fiber are at risk of developing gut infection, a new study says. The authors say this happens because when the bacteria present in the gut doesn't have enough fiber to feed on, it begins munching on the natural layer of mucus that lines the gut, promoting bacterial invasion, inflammation and infection. The study, “A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades The Colonic Mucus Barrier And Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility,” was published in the journal Cell. “Despite the accepted health benefits of consuming dietary fiber, little is known about the mechanisms by which fiber deprivation impacts the gut [bacteria] and alters disease risk,” the authors wrote. Researchers transplanted 14 bacteria that grow in the human gut to mice that have no gut bacteria of their own to study what would happen to these animals when they were given either a fiber-enriched or a fiber-free diet. In a normal gut, the mucus layer is constantly being produced and degraded. But if there is a change in the growth levels of gut bacteria, this important equilibrium is affected. They found that mice on a fiber-enriched diet (15 percent fiber from minimally processed grains and plants) presented a thick mucus layer, and bacteria did not cause any infection. However, when mice were given a fiber-free diet, the mucus layer started to become thinner just a few days later. Also, prebiotic fiber (a type of non-digestible fiber found in some processed foods and supplements) induced similar effects in mice of a deg
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