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Herbsprout is a webblog and podcast dedicated to sharing the health benefits of herbs, food, innovations related to our gut microbiome. Herbsprout seeks to bridge the vast chasm dividing the mainstream medical community and alternative medicine.

Daily fiber key to disease prevention

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A short-term intervention in daily fiber consumption can significantly alter the gut microbiome and nutrient intake, according to a study led by University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers. “The lack of fiber intake in the industrialized world is starving our gut microbes,” says UCI professor Katrine Whiteson who co-directs UCI’s Microbiome Initiative, and conducted the dietary study.
Though humans cannot digest fibers from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, our gut bacteria uses fiber to make healthy byproducts such as short-chain fatty acids, according to the UC Irvine report.
The students who participated in the two week fiber enriched diet tracked their gut microbial composition. The two-week intervention significantly altered individual gut microbiome composition, including an increase in the abundance of Bifidobacterium, according to the UCI report.
The study was supported by the UCI Microbiome Initiative ( at the University of California, Irvine and Thistle. An education outcome-focused manuscript was published last year:

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Gut friendly veggies for the fall season

Gut friendly veggies for the fal...
Tis pumpkin season, and scientists say consuming pumpkins hold the promise of good gut health, even protection against type 2 diabetes. “Number one, they increase the beneficial bacteria like Akkermansia, which we love,” says Will Bulsiewicz, M.D. in a recent “Eating Well”interview (1). “Number two, they lower unhealthy bacteria like Biophila. Number three, they increase gut diversity,” he continued.
Another friendly fall food is beets, a good source of nitrates. Our bodies convert nitrates into nitric oxide which relaxes our blood vessels, says Bulsiewicz (2). Other veggies he recommends are acorn squash and purple cabbage.

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Is high Protein intake good or bad for the gut?

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For workout warriors who regularly condition their body at fitness centers all over the country, high protein drinks, bars, and other snacks are their food of choice.

But is it good for you? As so often is the case, it is ok in moderation. However, consuming excessive amounts of undigested proteins will encourage pathogens and protein-fermenting bacteria, increasing the risk of diseases, according to the National Institute of Health (1). Excessive intake of protein can affect the gut barrier and the immune system. Proteolytic fermentation generates toxic metabolites, which can lead to diseases.

Conversely, studies by Science Direct claim that the composition and activity of gut microbiota are profoundly dependent on the dietary intake of carbohydrates and proteins.

Dietary fiber intake generates the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), suppressing proteolytic activity.

The microbial members of the gut utilize and compete for dietary and endogenous (non-dietary) proteins, which are used for energy production and biosynthesis (2).



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