Importance of understanding fibre and IBS
Myth busting 101: You don’t need to remove fibre from your diet if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). While you may need to be careful about consuming specific types of fibre, getting your 5-a-day is critical when it comes to supporting gut health and IBS long-term.
What is fibre?
Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body. Instead, it passes through the digestive system relatively intact, providing a number of health benefits:
- Normalises bowel movements
- Selectively feeds beneficial gut bacteria
- Helps minimise wind, bloating, and abdominal discomfort
- Provides a long-term solution for IBS
- And most importantly, produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)!
What are Short Chain Fatty Acids, and why are they important in IBS?
Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced when we consume dietary fibre. Our gut microbiome breaks down dietary fibre and produces these powerful ‘superheroes’.
Benefits of SCFAs
- Strengthens the gut lining
- Reduces inflammation of the gut
- Regulates hormones & appetite
- Boosts moods
If we don’t eat enough fibre, this can decrease the amount of ‘food’ e.g, bacteria we have to ferment which can result in a low number of SCFAs produced in the gut. The three main types of SCFA’s are:
Is butyrate the unsung hero when it comes to IBS?
Butyrate is the main fuel source for the cells that line the gut (sciencey term “colonocytes”). Having a healthy gut lining is crucial in managing IBS symptoms. As a healthy gut lining increases our ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals along with blocking harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the body’s bloodstream.
Butyrate also has anti-inflammatory properties which is another key element when it comes to IBS management.
Will fibre make my IBS worse?
Fibre will not make your IBS ‘worse’ although certain types of fibre may flare your symptoms. Your gut microbiome is unique to you and everyone’s gut microbiome has different fermentation capabilities.
The amount of fibre you eat also plays a role in managing symptoms and normalising bowel habits. In IBS, too much or too little fibre can affect symptoms, and certain types of fibre may be better tolerated than others.
What is the risk of a low fibre diet?
When there is a type of food eliminated/restricted from someone’s diet there is a potential risk of missing out on important macro and micronutrients including wholegrains, fruit, vegetables etc. A long term low fibre diet can lead to constipation, which can further exacerbate IBS symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain
Should I follow a low FODMAP diet?
A low FODMAP diet is a type of elimination diet that involves avoiding foods that are high in certain types of carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest. While it can be helpful for some people with IBS, it's essential to work with a dietician or registered nutritionist to determine if it's right protocol for you. A low FODMAP diet is not a long-term solution and should only be followed for a short period. Read more about the FODMAP diet here Fibre and IBS: what you need to know – Myota Health
Top 5 tips for someone suffering from IBS?
- Stick to a regular routine, aim to eat three regular meals, try not to skip meals or eat too late in the evenings
- Hydrate: Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluids per day.
- Try to manage stress levels e.g. meditation
- Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to help regulate digestion
- Keep a food diary to identify potential food trigger
Have you heard about our Gut Booster?
myota's Gut Booster is our certified low FODMAP fibre blend suitable for sensitive stomachs. Our gentle blend of fibres ferment slowly along the entire length of the gut to help ease bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.
- Targets bloating, wind and constipation
- Improves digestion
- Restores gut bacteria
- Low FODMAP ingredients