Fibre and Gut Health

Most people are aware that a diet with plenty of fibre, such as that found in fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and pulses, is good for us.  

It is often recommend by doctors that you should supplement your diet with extra fibre in the form of capsules, sachets or drinks to:

  1. help with constipation or other digestive problems;
  2. improve bile metabolism;
  3. to prevent bowel cancer;
  4. help lower blood cholesterol levels; and
  5. improve glucose tolerance for diabetics.


Fibre is great for keeping us regular but those with impaired digestion and compromised gut flora can feel a lot of discomfort from fibre-rich foods as fibre is only as good for the body as the presence of good gut flora.

In fact fibre feeds the good bacteria in the gut which then produces nutrition for the gut wall and the whole body.  Good bacteria also uses fibre to help absorb toxins, take part in water and electrolyte metabolism, and recycle bile acids and cholesterol.  It is the bacterial action on dietary fibre that allows it to fulfil all these good functions in the body.

However, when these good bacteria are damaged and are not able to ‘work’ the fibre, dietary fibre itself can become dangerous for the digestive system, providing a perfect habitat for the bad pathogenic bacteria to grow and thrive and thereby further aggravate the inflammation in the gut wall. 

This is when gastroenterologists have to recommend that their patients follow a low-fibre diet.

Dietary fibre alone without the beneficial bacteria present, can end up not being all that good for us.  People who are prone to diarrhoea or loose stools should ensure that they have low fibre in their diet until the diarrhoea clears.

About the author: Lelani practices Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, and Naturopathy in London. She is also a certified GAPS practitioner.  You can email her at if you have any questions or would like to book a free twenty minute consultation