Psyllium dietary fiber helps prevent ulcerative colitis

He psyllium it’s a type of semi-soluble fiber Derived from Plantago seeds, to which numerous health benefits are attributed, from combating constipation and diarrhea, to contributing to weight loss in case of obesity, controlling glucose levels in diabetics or lowering cholesterol levels. bad and increase good cholesterol, which also helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

New research has now revealed that, in addition, the psyllium fiber protects against ulcerative colitis and eliminates inflammation associated with this disorder by increasing serum bile acids. The study has been carried out in mice by researchers at the Georgia State University Institute of Biomedical Sciences, who have published their results in the journal Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CMGH).

In Spain, the incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) –which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis– is 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants-year, according to a study in which scientists from the Network Biomedical Research Center (CIBEREHD) participated. Although high-fiber foods support intestinal and metabolic health, the level of protection varies depending on the type of fiber, and it was not known for sure whether dietary fiber could be of benefit to patients with severe forms of intestinal inflammation.

Psyllium protects against chronic inflammation and prevents colitis

The objective of the new study was to identify the fibers capable of protecting mice in two models of experimental colitis, as well as to understand the mechanism by which the protective fibers eliminated inflammation. Among the fibers they tested were inulin, cellulose, pectin, glucomannan and psyllium. The researchers found that psyllium is capable of improve two chronic inflammatory states: the metabolic syndrome and colitis.

“The results were impressive because even modest amounts of psyllium provided strong protection in both colitis models.”

Psyllium caused an increase in bile acids leading to activation of the FXR bile acid receptor, which was sufficient to prevent colitis and suggests that pharmacological activation of FXR could help control IBD. The results of the work also suggest that dietary fiber may be beneficial in IBD, which was not clear.

“The results were impressive because even modest amounts of psyllium provided strong protection in both models of colitis,” said Andrew Gewirtz, Regents Professor at the Georgia State Institute of Biomedical Sciences and lead author of the study. “That psyllium may offer protection against colitis is consistent with limited human studies that psyllium is effective for maintain remission of ulcerative colitisbut its mechanism of action was largely unknown,” adds lead author Alexis Bretin, a postdoctoral fellow at the institute.

“There has been a lack of consensus on the impact of dietary fiber on IBD, and the notion that soluble/fermentable fibers might have a negative impact on IBD has led many patients to consume low-fiber diets, thus losing the wide range of health benefits provided by fiber,” Gewirtz points out. “Our findings indicate that the various fibers act quite differently from one another and therefore further human studies of specific fibers are warranted,” she concludes.


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