Your microbiome and inflammatory loop

It’s hardly news that inflammation is at the epicentre of every major health condition of our time. You name it – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, lung disorders, cancer, asthma, allergies and even mental disorders have all been strongly linked to inflammation in the body. But what most of us don’t realise is that inflammation isn’t a single entity, but a circuit made up of three interlinked elements running on a loop.

“All Disease Begins in the Gut” – Hippocrates.

Almost all chronic health conditions have either direct or indirect connections with our gut. The inflammation in chronic conditions involves a signature recurrent inflammatory circuit made up of three links residing in our gut — dysregulated immunity, weakened gut barrier, and dysbiosis (disturbances in the gut microbial community), each one propelling the other to keep the inflammatory cycle going for months or years. This can seriously compromise an individual’s health by making them susceptible to other conditions/infections. While it is still not clear to the scientists which one of these actually kick-starts the inflammation, all three are known to be responsible for causing the inflammation cycle to linger over an extended period of time in the body.

Some gut bacteria, such as probiotics can fight inflammation, while others promote it. When the gut works as it should in a healthy state, these two types of bacteria keep each other in check. But when that delicate balance gets skewed, inflammatory/pathogenic bacteria take over and produce toxic metabolites that pass through the gut lining crossing the barrier into the bloodstream and spreading the inflammation to other parts of the body. In a healthy state, beneficial bacteria produce metabolites, like short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), that nourish and strengthen the gut lining while also promoting immune benefits throughout the body.

Breaking the inflammatory loop by feeding the gut microbiota

Compared to healthy individuals, those with chronic inflammation are known to have a dysbiotic gut microbial pattern – blooming of the pathogenic type, reduced beneficial type and reduced microbial diversity. Among other environmental and genetic factors, the food we eat plays an important role in the bacterial makeup of our gut. High-consumption of nutrient-deficient and energy dense ultra-processed foods is known to encourage the growth of pathogenic microbes that encourage inflammation. In contrast, promoting the populations of beneficial microbes with anti-inflammatory and immune benefits can be achieved by feeding the gut microbiota with diets rich in plant dietary fibres. A plant-based diet rich in prebiotic soluble fibres and insoluble fibres is known to boost the diversity of the microbiota in the gut that in turn can produce number of beneficial metabolites leading to health benefits. A diet that includes natural and minimally processed foods from a wide range of plant and animal sources is strongly linked to reduced inflammation and diverse microbiota.

In a recent study, diet supplemented with Kfibre, a whole-plant prebiotic sugarcane fibre, was confirmed to confer anti-inflammatory effects in mice with chronic gut inflammation. Kfibre alone (as prebiotic fibre supplement) or in combination with a probiotic (synbiotic supplement) has been demonstrated to dampen the inflammation by tampering with all three links of the inflammatory circuit. The Kfibre– and synbiotic-supplemented diet not only suppressed the production of inflammatory molecules and strengthened the gut barrier but was also noted to encourage higher microbial diversity and increased populations of beneficial bacteria while also promoting augmented levels of SCFAs in the gut.

Visit to learn more about dietary fibre and its role in human dietary health.

Feed your gut well and good health will follow!!

By Dr Tanvi Shinde