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consequences of reduced fibre intake
Fibre - both soluble and insoluble - is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Poor dietary fibre consumption has been linked with the onset of a number of disease states in the developed western countries: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation, diverticular disease, haemorrhoids (piles), hiatus hernia, gallstones, colonic carcinoma, atherosclerosis.
The term dietary fibre or roughage describes a number of different substances and categories of substances such as non-starch polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and lignin. These are traditionally found in cereal foods, beans, lentils, fruit and vegetables and cannot be digested. Dietary fibre (DF) also includes a number of other associated plant substances such as resistant starch (RS). RS refers to the portion of starch and starch products that resist digestion as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Dietary intakes of RS in westernised countries are likely to be low.
DF promotes a number of physiological effects, such as helping to prevent constipation, and helping to lower blood cholesterol and/or glucose levels.
According to its solubility there are two broad types of fibre: insoluble and soluble. Oats, fruit, vegetables and pulses are good sources of soluble fibre. Wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread are particularly good sources of insoluble fibre. The latter passes through the intestine almost unchanged.
The recommended intake for adults is currently 18 g/day. Foods and food products that contain 6 g fibre/ 100 g or 100 ml may be labelled as a high fibre food. After increasing the amount of fibre in the diet, some people experience (temporary) symptoms such as abdominal distension, discomfort and wind.
A diet with enough fibre (20-35 g/day) helps the body form soft, bulky stool. High fibre foods include beans, whole grains and bran cereals, fresh fruits, and vegetables such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. For people prone to constipation, limiting foods that have little or no fibre (cheese, meat), is also important.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional disorder of the gut. The cause is not known. Symptoms can be quite variable and include abdominal pain, disordered defaecation (constipation or diarrhoea or both) and abdominal distension, usually referred to as bloating. There is no cure for IBS, but symptoms can often be eased with treatment.
Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than 3 x / week. It is a symptom, not a disease. The colon absorbs water from the food while forms waste products, or stool. By the time stool reaches the rectum it is solid, because most of water has been absorbed. Its common causes are: not enough fibre in the diet, lack of regular exercise (especially in the elderly), IBS, dehydration, milk, ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement, etc.
Constipation resulting from a low DF intake leads to straining during defecation - this can cause further problems such as piles that can bleed and are painful. It is now well accepted that increased fibre in the diet represents a better way of preventing constipation than taking laxatives. Although treatment depends on the cause, severity, and duration of the constipation, in most cases dietary and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend laxatives.
Mirex Forte is a natural product with active ingredients of water soluble microfibres (proteoglycans) obtained from wheat bran. Ligated to proteins, proteoglycans form a resistant and stable gel in the acidic medium of the stomach.
It is recommended:
- to reduce sensation of bloating and to increase bowel movement in case of sluggish bowel motility and predisposition to constipation;
- as an adjuvant to medicinal treatment of hemorrhoids to ease motion of the bowels;
- for prevention gastric complaints - like hyperacidity, heartburn, stomachache due to stomach irritating drugs, low fibre diet, nervousness or stress and to alleviate symptoms.