Dietary fiber

Violation of the permeability of the intestinal wall

Food may contain substances that are not intended for absorption and entry into the circulatory or lymphatic systems – microbial toxins allergens heavy metal salts . With normal permeability of the intestinal walls in the process of assimilating food, their number is quite small, and the liver and kidneys cope with their utilization.   

However, this process can be disrupted, and toxins through the increased gaps between intestinal cells enter the bloodstream, remaining in the blood and lymph flow for a long time and causing chronic intoxication of the body 


  • inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
  • inflammation of the lining of the small intestine (enteritis)
  • inflammation of the lining of the large intestine (colitis)
  • motor disorders (constipation)
  • imbalance of microflora (dysbiosis)

Usually, increased intestinal permeability is accompanied by 

  • weakening of immunity
  • frequent colds
  • allergic manifestations
  • symptoms of general malaise
  • increased fatigue
  • dyspeptic disorders of the intestine

In case of violation of the permeability of the intestinal wall, the immune defense is partially triggered and this inevitably affects the appearance 

  • allergic skin rashes
  • peeling skin
  • fragility and hair loss

In addition, in case of malfunctioning of the intestine, the absorption and exchange of fatty acids is disrupted, which leads to diseases 

  • biliary system ( cholelithiasis )
  • cardiovascular system (atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease)
  • endocrine system (obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus)

Dietary fiber – what is it?

Dietary fiber is a natural sorbent, similar to the usual activated carbon, but with a gentle and, at the same time, more powerful effect. 

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods. 

Main sources of fiber :


There are two types of fiber:

  • soluble
  • insoluble

There is a lot of soluble fiber in oatmeal, apples, citrus fruits. 

Wheat bran, hard peel of fruits and vegetables are rich in insoluble fiber . 

Most plant foods contain both types of fiber with a quantitative predominance of one or the other, for example, in wheat bran, insoluble fiber is referred to as soluble fiber, as 38.9: 3.3. At the same time, oat bran has approximately equal parts of two types of fiber – insoluble and soluble.    

The soybeans are usually a lot of soluble fiber and soy bean shell contains insoluble fiber called lignin. 

Different types of fiber have different functions. Gum and gum arabic , dissolving in water, increase in volume, fill the stomach and create a feeling of fullness. Wheat bran absorbs water, helping to eliminate toxins and waste products to regulate glucose levels. Lignin helps remove cholesterol and bile acids from the gastrointestinal tract. Pectin also prevents cholesterol and bile acids from entering the bloodstream.          

Toxic products, before leaving the body, are repeatedly absorbed and re-processed by the liver and digestive system. There is no doubt that this repeated circulation of toxins in the body contributes to the slagging of the internal environment. The idea of ​​using intestinal sorbents ( enterosorbents ) and, in particular, fiber is to interrupt this “vicious circle” by fixing toxins on the surface of the fiber and then removing them 

Dietary fiber does not cause side effects , however, some researchers draw attention to the fact that when fiber is abused, the absorption of vitamins and microelements decreases. Similar facts were revealed when using a large amount of fiber (more than 100 g) for continuous long courses. Soybean, oat, wheat, pectin fibers practically do not disturb the metabolism of mineral substances. 

General physicochemical properties of dietary fiber:

  • Sorption – dietary fibers, due to their natural structural features (porous or reticular structure, large specific surface), when in contact with the contents of the intestine, fix on themselves all unnecessary substances by strengthening ion exchange processes, donor-acceptor interactions and catalytic transformations. 
  • Water -retaining – the ability of dietary fibers to retain water is associated with the amount of biopolymers in them, with the degree of hydrophilicity, the nature of the surface and the porosity of the particles. Soluble fiber is hydrophilic , meaning it dissolves easily in water. It has a high sorption capacity, that is, it can absorb a large volume of liquid (1 g binds up to 30 ml of liquid). Insoluble dietary fiber is hydrophobic , but contains a large number of hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, which provide the ability to ion exchange swelling, that is, water retention and removal (due to Vaan der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds). 
  • Cation exchange – due to cation exchange properties, dietary fibers increase the absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc cations in the intestine. 

The effect of dietary fiber on the human intestine:

  1. Increases volume and stimulates intestinal motility, reducing the risk of constipation.
  2. They play the role of an adsorbent – they irreversibly bind and remove bile acids, cholesterol. The excretion of bile acids and cholesterol also increases as a result of the normalization of acidity.
  3. Provide nutrition to the intestinal microflora, creating a more comfortable environment for the growth of beneficial microflora. The reproduction of pathogens and putrefactive microorganisms is sharply reduced.
  4. They activate digestive enzymes, accelerating the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
  5. They fill the entire volume of the stomach and protect the mucous membrane by binding excess hydrochloric acid.
  6. Accelerate the elimination of undigested food residues, toxins, heavy metals, radionucleides .
  7. Provide the synthesis of vitamins – regulators of metabolic processes. Increase the absorption of calcium and iron.
  8. They improve the condition of the intestinal mucosa, since during the fermentation of dietary fiber by microorganisms, volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate , butyrate), gases (hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide) and energy are formed. Butyrate is necessary for the formation of energy, DNA synthesis, multiplication of intestinal mucosa cells. The resulting fatty acids normalize the metabolism of the intestinal microflora.
  9. When absorbed, dietary fiber stimulates the simultaneous adsorption of sodium and water, the flow of bicarbonates into the intestinal cavity, thereby controlling the acidity of the intestinal contents and preventing constipation.

Soy fiber properties

Soluble fiber of soybeans contains 20-30% protein, which contains 9 essential amino acids in an optimal combination ; 5-10% fats, most of which are polyunsaturated fatty acids and lecithin; vitamins PP, group B. 

Soy fiber regulates intestinal activity. It is fermented in the large intestine to form short-chain fatty acids, which stimulate the motor activity of the digestive tract, that is, fight constipation. With the help of soy fiber, the vital activity of beneficial intestinal microorganisms is activated, and therefore the synthesis of B vitamins (especially B12), which are coenzymes (activators) of protein, fat and, especially, carbohydrate metabolism.

Soy fiber has special anti-cancer properties. It contains many medicinal substances: isoflavones ( genistein and daidzein ), protease inhibitors, phytic acid, saponins.

Anti-cancer effects of soy fiber components :

  • Genistein inhibits the formation of an enzyme called tyrosine kinase , which stimulates the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells. And also genistein promotes differentiation (establishment of tissue specialization) of cancer cells, which slows down tumor growth 
  • Genistein and daidzein act as weak estrogen antagonists. They reduce the excess synthesis and activity of estrogens, therefore, reduce the risk of developing tumors (especially hormone-dependent ones).  
  • One of the conditions for the growth and development of a cancerous tumor is the development of blood vessels in it. Soy isoflavones inhibit the growth of such vessels, thus preventing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cancer cells, which means they prevent and slow down the development of the disease 
  • Protease inhibitors interfere with the action of enzymes that promote tumor growth and growth into tissue.
  • Phytic acid is an antioxidant, a chelator , that is, it binds and promotes the elimination of carcinogenic metals and other toxic compounds that can promote tumor growth.  
  • Saponins kill colon cancer cells , as they are involved in mechanisms that repair damage to the DNA of cells. 

Properties of chicory fructooligosaccharide

Fructo-oligosaccharide of chicory root ( inulin ) is a breeding ground for beneficial intestinal bacteria, i.e. in fact it is a good healthy prebiotic . The hydrolysis of fructooligosaccharide leads to the formation of a harmless sugar – fructose, which can be used in the diet of people with diabetes and obesity.

The mechanism of action of fructooligosaccharide :

  1. Provides an increase in beneficial intestinal microflora.
  2. Increases the production of vitamins K, biotin, niacin.
  3. Participates in the regulation of female sex hormones, activating estrogen metabolism.
  4. Accelerates the neutralization of endotoxins, allergens.
  5. Reduces the transit time of food through the gastrointestinal tract.
  6. Improves intestinal immune defense – increases the synthesis of interferon, interleukins , increases the phagocytic ability of macrophages.

Insoluble Fiber Properties

Insoluble fiber does not lend itself to fermentation by bacteria in the large intestine, that is, it is not absorbed by the body and is excreted unchanged. Insoluble fiber is the main component for the prevention of constipation, and also has an oncoprotective effect. 

The list of useful biological properties of insoluble fiber is quite impressive: 

  • increases the mass of intestinal contents,
  • significantly increases the frequency of intestinal motility,
  • shortens the transit time of food through the digestive system,
  • cleans microvilli,
  • enhances the adsorption of toxins in the intestinal contents,
  • reduces the amount of bacterial toxins, allergens, heavy metal salts.

Soluble fiber properties

Studies show that due to the gel filtration system formed during the dissolution of fiber in water, the absorption of substances in the gastrointestinal tract slows down. As a result, the content of cholesterol and fats decreases , as well as stabilizes the level of sugar in the blood , while at the same time the excretion of insulin from the body slows down.   

Soluble fiber is broken down by bacteria in the colon into carbohydrates, which are then fermented to produce gases (carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane), lactic acid, and short-chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate). These fermentation products can interact with cells in the colon or be absorbed into the bloodstream. In particular, short-chain fatty acids enter the liver, where they reduce the formation of cholesterol and have a beneficial effect on carbohydrate and fat metabolism. 

Thus, we can conclude that for proper digestion, we need all types of fiber. And the greater the variety of these species, the better!

event_note April 13, 2021

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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