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Posted on: November 30th, 2021

Inflammation is a non-specific immune response used by the body to any type of injury or harmful pathogen. Chronic inflammatory diseases develop when inflammation of the body becomes continuous–with or without the presence of harmful stimuli.

Studies on the connection between diet and reducing the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases have shown a strong relationship between the two. The optimal composition for the gut microbiome has yet to be determined, but information on specific diets affecting chronic inflammatory diseases is beginning to take shape.

High-Fiber Dietary Impacts on Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

A recent study published by the Amsterdam Rheumatology and Immunology Center focused on low-fiber diets, high-fiber diets, and vegetarian & vegan diets. Participants in the study all suffered from chronic inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, type-2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Measurements of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) were recorded for data.

For the low-fiber diet trials, participants changed their diets to match the specified low-fiber content. Research participants with low fiber diets did not show a significant clinical difference on affecting chronic inflammatory diseases when compared to control groups.

High-fiber dietary trials followed two different diets; diets with specified higher fiber content and Mediterranean diets. Study participants on the Mediterranean diet show a non-significant reduction of CRP. The Mediterranean participant results noted a trend towards improved gut microbiome composition. It was also noted that participants with IBD on the Mediterranean diet showed no clinical improvement.

High-fiber participants who were not on a Mediterranean diet showed a significant reduction in CRP. The high-fiber diet participants were noted to have improved microbiome compositions after the study was completed.

Vegan and vegetarian diets resulted in significant improvements for disease-related issues. Noted improvements related to chronic inflammatory diseases included less pain and subjective improvement of swollen or tender joints. Vegan and vegetarian diets also resulted in lower overall cholesterol levels (both LDL & HDL).

High-Fiber Clinical Benefits on Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

The largest takeaway from this study is that high-fiber dietary interventions seem more effective when it comes to improving conditions and symptoms associated with chronic inflammatory diseases. High-fiber plant-based diets (vegan & vegetarian) showed the most significant results in helping with chronic inflammatory conditions.

Fiber supplements were included in this review, with findings that <10 g/d did not lead to significant effects, while supplements of >10 g/d fiber and those with probiotics (e.g., synbiotics) showed more promise, although more data are needed.  

The study highlighted the potential importance of higher fiber intake for improving symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. Microbial diversity was also noted as an effect of high-fiber diets, resulting in a more diverse gut microbiome.

One finding by the authors was the need for more data on the effect of different types of fiber and fiber supplements and mediation of chronic inflammation by the microbiome for other conditions, such as CVD.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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