• Fiber-Famished Gut Microbes Linked to Poor Health

    From Large Hadron Collider@21:1/5 to Taka on Fri Dec 13 18:24:52 2019
    Same place lions do, and same place we should - meat.

    On 15-04-11 20 h 30, Taka wrote:
    On Monday, April 6, 2015 at 1:12:23 PM UTC+9, ⊙_⊙ wrote:
    Scientific American


    Fiber-Famished Gut Microbes Linked to Poor Health

    While probiotics receive more attention, key fibers remain the workhorses in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome
    March 23, 2015 |By Katherine Harmon Courage | Véalo en español
    fruits and veggies

    Fiber has long been linked to better health, but new research shows how the gut microbiota might play a role in this patter >> Credit: Joe Belanger/Thinkstock
    KEYSTONE, Colo.--Your gut is the site of constant turf wars. Hundreds of bacterial species--along with fungi, archaea and viruses--do battle daily, competing for resources. Some companies advocate for consuming more probiotics, live beneficial
    bacteria, to improve microbial communities in our gut, but more and more research supports the idea that the most powerful approach might be to better feed the good bacteria we already harbor. Their meal of choice? Fiber.
    Fiber has long been linked to better health, but new research shows how the gut microbiota might play a role in this pattern. One investigation discovered that adding more fiber to the diet can trigger a shift from a microbial profile linked to
    obesity to one correlated with a leaner physique. Another recent study shows that when microbes are starved of fiber, they can start to feed on the protective mucus lining of the gut, possibly triggering inflammation and disease.
    "Diet is one of the most powerful tools we have for changing the microbiota," Justin Sonnenburg, a biologist at Stanford University, said earlier this month at a Keystone Symposia conference on the gut microbiome. "Dietary fiber and diversity of the
    microbiota complement each other for better health outcomes." In particular, beneficial microbes feast on fermentable fibers--which can come from various vegetables, whole grains and other foods--that resist digestion by human-made enzymes as they travel
    down the digestive tract. These fibers arrive in the large intestine relatively intact, ready to be devoured by our microbial multitudes. Microbes can extract the fiber's extra energy, nutrients, vitamins and other compounds for us. Short-chain fatty
    acids obtained from fiber are of particular interest, as they have been linked to improved immune function, decreased inflammation and protection against obesity.
    Today's Western diet, however, is exceedingly fiber-poor by historical standards. It contains roughly 15 grams of fiber daily, Sonnenburg noted. For most of our early history as hunter-gatherers, we were likely eating close to 10 times that amount of
    fiber each day. "Imagine the effect that has on our microbiota over the course of our evolution," he said.
    Your bugs are what you eat
    Not all helpful fiber, however, needs to come from the roots and roughage for which our ancestors foraged, new research suggests. Kelly Swanson, a professor of comparative nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his team found
    that simply adding a fiber-enriched snack bar to subjects' daily diets could swing microbial profiles in a matter of weeks. In a small study of 21 healthy adults with average U.S. fiber intake, one daily fiber snack bar (containing 21 grams of fiber) for
    three weeks significantly increased the number of Bacteroidetes bacteria and decreased the number of Firmicutes compared with levels before the study or after three weeks of eating fiber-free bars. Such a ratio--of more Bacteroidetes to fewer Firmicutes--
    is correlated with lower BMI. The findings were published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
    "We've known forever that if you eat a lot of fiber, you lose weight," Swanson says. His and other recent studies suggest that our gut microbes are a key player in this relationship. In addition to identifying groups of bacteria, a genome scan
    revealed a shifting pattern of genes active in the gut microbes. As fiber consumption increased, the activity of genes associated with protein metabolism declined, a finding that researchers hope will help them understand the complicated puzzle of diet
    and weight loss. "We're getting closer to what is actually cause and effect," Swanson says.
    Feed the microbes so they don't feed on you
    As gut microbes are starved of fermentable fiber, some do die off. Others, however, are able to switch to another food source in the gut: the mucus lining that helps keep the gut wall intact and free from infection.
    In a recent study presented at the Keystone meeting, Eric Martens of the University of Michigan Medical School, postdoctoral researcher Mahesh Desai and their colleagues found that this fuel switch had striking consequences in rodents. A group of mice
    fed a high-fiber diet had healthy gut lining, but for mice on a fiber-free diet, "the mucus layer becomes dramatically diminished," he explained at the meeting. This shift might sometimes have severe health consequences. Research by a Swedish team,
    published last year in the journal Gut, showed a link between bacteria penetrating the mucus layer and ulcerative colitis, a painful chronic bowel disease.
    A third group of mice received high-fiber chow and fiber-free chow on alternating days--"like what we would do if we were being bad and eating McDonald's one day and eating our whole grains the next," Martens joked. Even the part-time high-fiber diet
    was not enough to keep guts healthy: these mice had a mucus layer about half the thickness of mice on the consistently high-fiber diet. If we can extend these results to humans, he said, it "tells us that even eating your whole fiber foods every other
    day is still not enough to protect you. You need to eat a high-fiber diet every day to keep a healthy gut." Along the same lines, Swanson's group found that the gut microbiomes of his adult subjects reverted back to initial profiles as soon as the high-
    fiber bars were discontinued.
    Martens and his colleagues also observed that mice on the consistently high-fiber diet consumed fewer calories and were slimmer than those on the fiber-free diet, showing that fiber benefits the body in multiple ways. "Studies like this are great
    because it's getting at the mechanisms to explain why fiber is beneficial," Swanson says.
    As all this work underscores, the gut microbiome is exceptionally plastic. Such rapid, diet-influenced changes likely served us well over the course of our evolutionary history--shifting faster than our own physiology could, wrote Justin Sonnenburg
    and Erica Sonnenburg in a November 2014 article in Cell Metabolism. "In delegating part of our digestion and calorie harvest to our gut residents, the microbial part of our biology could easily adjust to day-to-day or season-to-season variation in
    available food," they noted. New studies continue to demonstrate that microbial changes due to diet are "largely reversible on short time scales." But the question remains as to how chronic low-fiber intake--over a lifetime or generations--might
    permanently alter our guts and our health.


    RockyBob March 23, 2015
    "Fiber has long been linked to better health..." In fact, quite the opposite is true. Large studies that intended to show the beneficial effects of fiber failed to show any benefit for cancer, weight loss, or heart disease. Disappointing, but true.
    Fiber is definitely beneficial for avoiding constipation, but that was it.
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    RockyBob March 23, 2015
    From the Women's Health Initiative: " Over a mean of 8.1 years, a dietary intervention that reduced total fat intake and increased intakes of vegetables, fruits, and grains did not significantly reduce the risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD in
    postmenopausal women..." Fiber anyone?
    Report as Abuse
    RockyBob March 23, 2015
    Same WHI: In this study, a low-fat dietary pattern intervention did not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women during 8.1 years of follow-up."
    Report as Abuse
    rtvrbob March 23, 2015
    It is wonderful to reference studies but unless you name the studies or show links to them we have no
    idea how valid the study or the source is. I don't see anywhere in this article that it claims to be a cure all.
    It discusses the health of your gut microbiota and refers to it being good for your health.
    Report as Abuse
    Gopher63 rtvrbob March 23, 2015
    One vote up.
    Report as Abuse
    RockyBob March 24, 2015
    This article says, "fiber has long been linked to better health..." The Women's Health Initiative convincingly shows that statement to be completely wrong. The WHI studies are peer reviewed, high caliber studies and can be found easily on line.
    Report as Abuse
    beakernz March 25, 2015
    Be wary of posts from the likes of RockyBob, there are several vested interests in proclaiming fiber is "evil", for example one site called 'the fiber menace' makes quite a good living selling this desperate and unwell people. I put these types along
    the same lines as anti-vaxers. This research will destroy them, so expect to see them in these comment areas here and wherever this article is syndicated.
    Report as Abuse
    Richieo March 27, 2015
    All dietary fibre has a part to play, as part of a sensible diet it is indispensable for keeping the gut healthy.
    It is not a magic cure all, but it does affect how the immune system works, don't be swayed by all the misinformation that is spouted by the ignorant few...
    Report as Abuse
    HarryMonmouth March 29, 2015
    Rocky Bob seems a little confused. He states that "Fiber is definitely beneficial for avoiding constipation", but also states that the assertion "Fibre has long been linked to better health", has been convincingly shown to be completely wrong. He also
    seems to think that a failure to show any benefit for cancer, weight loss or heart disease is the same as being the opposite of being linked to better health. The opposite of being linked to better health is obviously being linked to worse health. It
    would seem that Rocky Bob is trying to suggest that avoiding constipation does nothing to make one's health better. If anyone thinks his comments give the impression he is a bit full of it, this may explain why.
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    Where did the Neanderthals get their fiber from?

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