How Fiber & Friendly Flora Reduce Inflammation

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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How Fiber & Friendly Flora Reduce Inflammation
Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding why dietary fiber and friendly GI tract flora1 (acidophilus) provide significant benefit to such inflammatory problems as colitis, asthma, and arthritis.

Dietary fiber is fermented in the lower colon by friendly flora, resulting in the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The new discovery is that SCFAs bind on to a receptor on immune cells called G-protein-coupled receptor 43 (GPR43).

The scientist showed that when GPR43 is activated by the SCFAs then inflammation is controlled. And conversely, their experiments showed that when GPR43 is not activated then inflammation persists. This is an extremely important discovery.

It means that if you have adequate dietary fiber and friendly flora then you have an intestinal “rain forest” that is producing enough of the short chain fatty acids to help regulate immune cells to not produce excessive inflammatory signals.

On the other hand, diets high in sugar and other forms of junk will create an imbalance in the gut, as will repeated use of antibiotics. True enough, this situation promotes an overgrowth of hostile bacteria (like H. Pylori) or candida albicans. However, there is more to it. The lack of production of SCFAs due to the imbalanced condition is an additional source of inflammation. The inflammation then weakens the digestive lining, making it easier for the hostile inhabitants to gain a foothold and wreak further harm.

It is now correct to view both dietary fiber and friendly flora as anti-inflammatory nutrition, not just for the digestive tract but as a possible factor in any problem of ongoing inflammation (including knee joints). I have repeatedly fixed serious inflammatory problems in infants and children by fixing their digestive tracts. Now we understand a key aspect explaining why this works.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Fiber and Friendly Flora Reduce Inflammation  Nature  Kendle M. Maslowski, Angelica T. Vieira, Aylwin Ng, Jan Kranich, Frederic Sierro, Di Yu, Heidi C. Schilter, Michael S. Rolph, Fabienne Mackay, David Artis, Ramnik J. Xavier, Mauro M. Teixeira & Charles R. Mackay.

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