What happens when you don’t feed your microbiota?

Over the last few years there has been increasing evidence of the importance of feeding your intestinal microbiota with dietary fibers. As the popularity of low carb/low starch diets keeps increasing, it becomes obvious that eliminating the substrate of your bowel flora may lead you to bigger problems. We already know that  microbiota of IBD and IBS patients differs from a healthy flora. The particular strains Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Clostridium Butyricum are the most known butyrate producers. The problem is that these particular bacteria are very susceptible to antibiotic treatment. After antibiotherapy patients lose their immunosuppressive strains (such as the ones mentioned above) which leads to reduced butyrate production. As we already explained in our previous article, butyrate is necessary for a correct bowel function.

There are some basic things that can help us increase butyrate production:

  • Recovering lost butyrate-producer strains through fecal transplant or selective supplementation

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  • Feeding these strains with specific fibers

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  • Butyric acid delivered through enema or orally (less effective)

Buy Butyrate:

As we mentioned above, there’s an increasing popularity in diets that tend to be low in fiber content. Diets such as keto, low carb, low starch and even paleo in some cases eliminate most sources of soluble fibers (grains, tubers, plantains, sometimes even onions and garlic). This is usually beneficial as most patients with digestive disorders benefit from a reduction in certain carbohydrates. However, in the long term, recent research suggests that low-fiber diet promotes expansion and activity of colonic mucus-degrading bacteria. What does that mean?


Graphic explaining what happens when you follow a low fiber diet

During fiber deficiency,  gut microbiota resorts to colonic mucus as a substrate, eroding the intestinal barrier and providing an easier access to our bloodstream for several pathogens and food proteins. Being clear, trying to fix our gut problems by avoiding fiber we may be worsening the condition of our intestinal barrier, which is under no circumstance our purpose.

In our opinion, you should think twice before resorting to a low fiber diet (except in specific cases), as this may cause you more harm than good in the long term.

You can find more information in these two articles:

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Photo source: http://www.webmd.boots.com/oral-health/rm-quiz-germs-your-mouth