16 May 2018

Not all fibres are created equally

Prebiotic fibre in legumes, garlic and onion may be better 
for your gut than some fruits and vegetables.
by Matt Jane

Diets including fibres found in legumes, garlic and onion may hold the key to a healthier gut according to a study conducted by Monash PhD student, Daniel So.

Through a detailed analysis and review of 64 papers, the study found that the consumption of prebiotic fibres would nourish and increase good bacteria in the gut resulting in a more harmonious digestive system.

The study, which appeared in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stemmed from the question "How does fibre affect the microbiome in healthy adults?" Lead author and PhD candidate at Monash University, Daniel So, highlighted the importance of the study: "these results have given us a pretty robust understanding on how fibres affect our microbiome as well as the role different fibres are playing."

Daniel hopes the findings can pave the way for more comprehensive studies into how individuals consume fibre and its overall effect on an individual's gut bacteria. With these further investigations, it may be possible to begin to help individuals suffering from chronic diseases that are connected to an individual's microbiome.

"People who suffer from chronic diseases often also have a somewhat dysfunctional gut microbiome. Increasing their intake this type of specific fibre could help balance out their gut bacteria population and potentially relieve some pain."

Daniel presented his findings at the 35th Diet Association of Australia conference in Sydney on 17 May 2018. His PhD is supervised by Associate Professor Jane Muir and Professor Peter Gibson, in Monash University's Department of Gastroenterology at the Central Clinical School.

So D, Whelan K, Rossi M, Morrison M, Holtmann G, Kelly JT, Shanahan ER, Staudacher HM, Campbell KL. Dietary fiber intervention on gut microbiota composition in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 May 11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy041. [Epub ahead of print]

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