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Digestive problems: what causes them and which fibres really help

Dietary fibre plays an important role in maintaining good health and digestion. Low dietary fibre intake is associated with a high incidence of disease and intestinal disorders. 

Table of Contents

What is gut health?

Gut health is determined by the condition of the gut lining and the proportion of bacteria living in the gut. It affects the whole body. It creates a harmonious state or, by upsetting this balance, it can cause disease. It is therefore important to do everything we can if we want to improve our digestion and thus our health.

The gut flora (microbiome) helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels play a role in appetite control and supports the gut’s defence against pathogens. 

Through the so-called gut-brain axis, the microbiome constantly communicates with the brain through direct neural connections and the production of neurotransmitters.

What is the microbiome?

The microbiome is a community of microorganisms living in the intestinal flora that use food fibre as nutrients (fermentation). While using important nutrients, they produce substances that are useful to the body, called short-chain fatty acids. 

Fatty acids are a source of energy for the cells of the intestine, stimulating their function and renewal. Some types of dietary fibre support the proliferation of beneficial microbes in the bacterial flora, called prebiotics.

The secret of good digestion

Diet is key to maintaining the health and balance of the microbiome. By consuming dietary fibre, which is a nutrient for the bacteria in the colon, we can directly influence the functioning of the microbiome. 

Among the hundreds of different micro-organisms that make up the microbiome, the familiar Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli are excellent ‘fibre processors’. The microbiome of people with a high-fibre, predominantly plant-based diet is richer, consisting of a wider variety of bacteria. 

Research to date has shown a clear link between the poorer microbiome composition of modern humans and the increased prevalence of chronic diseases.

How fibre supports our health

Water-soluble (fermentable) fibres cause a feeling of fullness by absorbing water, slowing down gastric emptying and the secretion of digestive juices by affecting the digestive hormone balance. This helps to maintain body weight and manage obesity.

– They slow down and smooth the absorption of glucose in the small intestine by forming gels, thus reducing the rise in blood sugar levels after meals.

– They reduce the transit time of intestinal contents and eliminate some of the water-soluble harmful substances. This may help to prevent colorectal cancer.

– Gel-forming fibres bind and excrete some of the cholesterol and bile acids used for cholesterol production. They may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels.

– The fatty acids produced during fermentation nourish the epithelial cells of the intestinal wall and contribute to the proper functioning of the digestive immune system, inhibiting inflammatory processes.

– Part of the water-soluble fibres is prebiotic, i.e. it helps the activity and proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, thus indirectly inhibiting the growth of harmful micro-organisms.

Which are the most effective water-soluble fibres

The most effective fibres are those that help healthy small intestinal epithelial cells (enterocytes) and colon epithelial cells (colonocytes) to function properly. 

These include pectin and inulin, which are also included in Fulvicherb – Synergy.

The effects of pectin

Pectin is the most valuable dietary fibre because it is 100% fermentable due to its water solubility. Pectin can affect the immune status of the gut by interacting directly with immune cells. Pectin can stimulate the diversity and abundance of beneficial microbial communities. It influences the composition of the gut microbiome, helping the proliferation of butyrate-producing bacteria (Bifidobacteria, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Anaerostipes, Eubacterium and Roseburia species) in the colon. 

The effects of pectin include strengthening the intestinal mucosal layer and calming the intestinal immune response, thus avoiding the cytokine storm. It may enhance gut immune strengthening by inhibiting the attachment of pathogens. Current data show that pectin can be an effective dietary fibre for the treatment and prevention of many inflammatory conditions in the gut.

What is inulin?

Inulin is a water-soluble bulk fibre. The human digestive system does not have an inulase enzyme to digest inulin. Of particular importance for calorie intake is that it is not absorbed and does not increase blood sugar levels. In the case of diabetes, inulin is important as a source of carbohydrates because it does not raise blood glucose levels even when consumed over a long period. 

The greatest benefit of inulin is its probiotic property: it is a nutrient exclusively for beneficial gut bacteria, especially Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus.

Fulvicherb – Synergy contains high levels of inulin and pectin in its recommended daily dose of 40ml.

Herbs for gut health

The herbs in Fulvicherb work together to control gut bacteria. Their module helps to maintain a healthy, eubiotic intestinal flora and prevent the overgrowth of harmful intestinal bacteria. These herbs promote beneficial gut bacteria and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. They prevent the development of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome (SIBO). They also protect the stomach and intestinal mucosa and promote the production of digestive juices. They play an important role in regulating blood pressure and increasing urine excretion.

Chamomile has a positive effect on gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), enterocolitis (inflammation of the digestive tract) and colitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the colon). As a supplement to basic therapy, this plant is used to treat patients with ulcers (ulcus ventriculi or ulcus duodenum).

Due to the antibiotic properties of the tannins in blueberry leaves, it is also used to treat diarrhoea.

Nettle: Studies have been conducted to verify the antidiarrhoeal and anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin. They have shown that it can inhibit secretion from the intestinal wall (release of substances useful to the body into the extracellular or intercellular space) and the formation of neurotransmitters (such as histamine, serotonin and prostaglandins) that cause inflammation. Because of this, the quercetin content of nettle helps to stop secretory diarrhoea when it is not caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

Sorrel: Its fruits have been used in folk medicine for centuries as a natural remedy for diarrhoea in humans and animals. Rumex acetosa L. is the most important herb in the complementary therapy of Crohn’s disease. The pharmacologists Z. Kisgyörgy and M. Péter (1982) from Cluj-Napoca investigated the effects of the species of the genus Rumex commonly used in folk medicine. Its anti-diarrhoeal effect was also confirmed by experiments. Its inhibitory effect on the development of enterobacteria was experimentally proven.

Sage contains an astringent substance (carnosol, also known as picrosalvin) that relieves inflammation of the mucous membranes and has an anti-diarrhoeal and antibiotic effect.

Maintaining a good composition of gut flora and digestion helps to eliminate harmful toxin-producing bacteria and fungi. Good (eubiotic) bacteria ensure the protection, permeability and balance of the intestinal lining. In recent years, there has been a growing body of knowledge about the importance of healthy gut flora (microbiome) for the functioning of the whole body. This is particularly important because about 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract.

Read the article in German: Darmgesundheit: Ursachen und was wirklich hilft

Read the article in Polish: Problemy z trawieniem: przyczyny i co naprawdę może pomóc

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