Margareta Nyman

Professor, Professor, Research laboratory SSA, Chemistry with focus on food


Improving gut health by indigestible food components

Many diseases and not only those directly associated with the gastrointestinal tract, but also diseases affecting the entire body (systemic), may be mediated via the colon. However, by improving the nutritional condition of the colon mucosa it may be possible to prevent or even alleviate some of the diseases. In this respect, food components reaching the colon (indigestible) and being degraded by the microbiota to biologically active substances are of the greatest importance. The most well-known source is the dietary fibres, but could also be indigestible protein, fat and minor components such as antioxidants. Important gut metabolites formed from dietary fibre, are the short-chain fatty acids, and especially butyric acid is important energy for the intestinal epithelial cells and may increase the nutritional status of the mucosa. Butyric acid stimulates mucosal cell proliferation, blood flow and oxygen uptake, resulting in a reduced permeability and influx of toxic/inflammatory substances into the circulation and thereby decreased risk for endotoxemia (low-grade inflammation). Interestingly, different dietary fibres give different amounts and patterns of SCFA and it may be possible to optimize the microbiota composition and gut metabolites formed, by variety, process/process-conditions and nutrient composition of the diet. Other biactive metabolites connected to the microbiota and the type of diet consumed are the bile acids. All metabolites formed from the diet are not good for your health, and some have less effects and some also negative effects. Our hypothesis is that an increased presence of the good metabolites decreases the risk for disease.

Recent research outputs

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