No doubt: insight into the best ways to manage our prebiotic fiber intake is an evolving process.
Those of you who have been following these Wheat Belly conversations for some time recognize that we view bowel flora, the 3-pound or so collection of trillions of microorganisms concentrated in the colon, as a crucial player in human health.
The species composition and relative numbers within each species play roles in bowel health, regularity, protection from colorectal cancer, even yielding metabolites that have metabolic impact on our bodies and modulate, for instance, blood insulin, blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure. There is even discussion about a “gut-brain” axis that reflects the profound effect bowel flora metabolites exert on brain health.
And we all begin with various degrees of dysbiosis given our prior exposure to the many factors in modern life that modify species composition, such as occasional antibiotics, antibiotic residues in meats and dairy, chlorinated/fluoridated water, wheat and grain consumption, and many others.
To help you understand the process we go through to re-establish something close to healthy bowel flora, we view our bowel flora as a garden. The “seeds” are high-potency probiotic preparations with as high a CFU count and as many species believed to be healthy as possible, while the “water” and “fertilizer” are prebiotic fibers that nourish healthy species and promote their proliferation.
Wisdom in both areas, probiotics and prebiotic fibers, are evolving rapidly. We could, of course, wait 20 years until much of the science has been clarified. But I don’t think that is necessary—we can start now. Even with the limited knowledge we now have, it is still possible to obtain substantial health benefits by adopting a rational program for bowel flora cultivation.
In particular, there are some important lessons surrounding prebiotic fibers that you should know about to help maximize your chances of success:
Read More: The finer points of prebiotic fibers | Dr. William Davis