Fiber Feeds Good Gut Bacteria

NOTE: please read the pages listed under the “Scratching the Surface” tab before reading these pages listed under “Digging Deeper”.  “Scratching the Surface” pages present information needed to understand the framework into which later pages fit.

Trillions of microbes live in the human gut, and scientists are learning more and more about how important these organisms are for our health.  When there are plenty of good bacteria and relatively few harmful bacteria living in the gut, the health of the host is improved in many ways. For one thing, researchers have found that mice inhabited by certain good bacteria are protected from experiencing gut inflammation.

Bacterial balance 2


In the case of my Crohn’s diseased intestines, I am interested in how I can promote the good bacteria that reside in my intestines. Fortunately, I find it cheap and easy to feed my good bacteria, because they have a genetic advantage over harmful bacteria in my gut. In general, good gut bacteria are able to use fiber as their food; whereas, harmful bacteria cannot. By consuming an ultra-high fiber diet and watching my sugar intake I can favor my good bacteria and make it difficult for the harmful bacteria to find simple sugars on which they rely.