A Fiber

Fiber is slowly or completely fermented by gut microflora, resulting in the production of short chain fatty acids and gas. This in turn results in shortened gut transit time, which reduces intracolonic pressure and helps with constipation. The recommended daily fiber intake for adults is 20-35 g/day, and fiber supplements are available to help meet this requirement. Supplements contain either soluble fiber (psyllium, ispaghula, calcium polycarbophil) or insoluble fiber (corn fiber, wheat bran). Soluble fiber is more readily fermented by gut microflora, whereas insoluble fiber undergoes minimal fermentation, and likely exerts its effects by increasing stool mass and thus increasing the luminal diameter, which in turn decreases the transmural pressure gradient. (Recall that, according to the law of Laplace, AP = T/r.) Studies looking at the effect of high-fiber diets on symptoms from uncomplicated diverticular disease, however, have not been conclusive, with some studies showing a benefit, while others do not. Despite this, increasing dietary fiber, often with fiber supplements, is currently the mainstay of treating uncomplicated diverticular disease.

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  • Category: Digestion