The prebiotic fibers in the food you eat, travel undigested through your stomach and small intestine, until they arrive in your large intestine. Along the way, these soluble fibers absorb water and become viscous and gelatinous. Then they are fermented by the probiotic bacteria in your digestive tract to create chemical factors you need to maintain good health.
Short-Chain Fatty Acids
The fermentation of these fibers in the gut produces important short-chain fatty acids including acetate, butyrate and propionate. These in turn, are absorbed by the mucosa of the large intestine. From here, acetate is delivered by the circulatory system to be metabolized by peripheral tissues. Propionate is used by the liver, and butyrate is used as the major energy source for the cells lining the wall of your large intestine.
Short-chain fatty acids help increase absorption of calcium, iron and magnesium by regulating mineral-transporting genes, and membrane transport proteins in the large intestine wall. They may also have anti-inflammatory benefits for the small and large intestine, which can help in the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Other benefits derived from short-chain fatty acids include inhibition of intestinal adhesion irritants, stabilization of glucose levels, suppression of cholesterol synthesis in the liver, and increased production of antibodies and immune system agents.
Keeping the large intestine wall in top shape is critical to your good health, because a condition known as "leaky gut" can occur when the large intestine mucosal lining is not operating optimally. When the large intestine's barrier malfunctions, endotoxins can cross into your circulatory system directly. The result can be potential inflammatory damage throughout your circulatory system and all the tissues of your body.
These are just some of the reasons to support your probiotic gut bacteria with healthy prebiotic fibers.