Rooted Project: Gut Health The Key Points!



The Importance of Fibre

What is fibre: chains of sugars that humans can’t digest- HOWEVER the bacteria in our bowel can digest some types of bacteria.

Increasing your fibre intake by 7g/day can lead to:

  • 8% decrease in bowel cancer
  • 6% decrease in T2DM
  • 9% CVD
  • 9% heart attacks
  • 7% reduction in strokes

7g of fibre looks like = half a tin of baked beans

=  a baked potato with skin

= a high fibre breakfast cereal

The Importance of Gut Bacteria

There is an increasing body of evidence that shows that the gut bacteria have a huge impact on our health.

There is great potential for variation in the types of bacteria in our gut between individuals – and now people are researching whether the presence or absence of certain bacteria can predispose us to certain diseases.

An imbalance in gut bacteria has been found in syndromes including

  • Obesity
  • Bowel cancer
  • IBD
  • IBS


How Can You Improve Your Gut Bacteria?

(1)Your diet

Evidence from cross-sectional studies show that the diet you eat has a significant impact on the types of bacteria in your gut – people who eat different diets have different gut bacteria.

Evidence about to be published this year shows that people with a high adherence to a Mediterranean diet have a diverse microbiome, with many types of bacteria performing different functions.

(2) Probiotics and Prebiotics

What is a probiotic?

Live microbial bacteria that you drink – adding new beneficial bacteria to your gut.

Probiotics are also present in naturally fermented foods

  • Yogurts
  • Cheese
  • Keffir

Do probiotics work?  

Some probiotics only work for specific diseases and some probiotics don’t work in the same way for everyone.

Evidence shows that a probiotic will only increase its own bacterial populations in your gut but it won’t necessarily increase other types of bacteria.

What is a Prebiotic?

Non-digestible parts of foods that feed and  encourage growth of types bacteria that improve health  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Is the microbiome affected in IBS?

It depends; studies have shown that some patients with IBS have a drastically altered micro biome compared to non IBS patients whereas other patients have a ‘healthy’ microbiome.

Can probiotics help?

9 systematic reviews (the highest quality evidence available) show:

Probiotics will improve symptoms of IBS, however, the improvement seen isn’t huge compared to other interventions so don’t expect dramatic results.


50% and 76% people following low FODMAP will experience symptom relief in IBS

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Unfortunately no evidence for symptom improvement using fibre, probiotic or prebiotic


Dr Megan Rossi, Prof Kevin Whelan, Dr Laura Thomas


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