Fibre Found In Food May Protect Gel In The Gut

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 | 180 Views

Dietary fibre and bacteria can change the structure of the protective gel that lines intestines, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gel that is found in the gut lets in nutrients and largely blocks out bacteria, preventing infections. It also regulates how some drugs are delivered to other parts in our bodies.

Previous studies have looked into how the gel can be damaged, such as when bacteria feed on the gut’s lining. This study is the first to examine the structure of the gel and how it changes in the presence of other substances naturally found in the gut.

In the study, the effects of polymers which include dietary fibre as well as therapeutics such as medicines for constipation were tested in mice.  The mice were given a diet rich in polymers and a polymer-free diet (control).

Researchers measured the thickness of the gut gel and the degree to which the gel was compressed as a result of the consumed polymers. It was discovered that mice given a high-polymer diet had a more compressed gel layer.

In addition, different kinds of polymers—including dietary fibres like pectin, found in apples—were applied directly to the gel lining to test its response.

All of the polymers tested compressed the gel layer. Although the study is preliminary, the study suggested that eating an apple a day will affect the shape of the lining in the gut positively.