Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
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Dietary Fiber and Liver Detox

Liver health and function are tied to an intricate web that comprises the gut microbiome, absorption, transport, end products of metabolism, and kidney. Indeed, the liver does it all, and sometimes it needs help. Multiple treatments to detoxify the liver, or better said: decrease reactive oxygen species, eliminate end products of metabolism and promote clearance of toxins, have been announced as part of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, how detox protocols, including dietary fiber work and what they are comprised of, are explained below.

Dietary fiber:

Dietary fiber is a big part of any detox program since it elicits multiple gut benefits that promote positive physiologic effects. Some of these positive effects have been seen in patients dealing with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The physiological effects of dietary fiber include:

  • Foster the growth of select microbes.
  • Modulate the host production of cytokines and hormones.
  • Regulation of microbiome-derived metabolites.

However, gut health and microbiome regulation are essential contributors to nutrient management and detoxification’s physiology and biochemistry. Also, this concept is called the gut-liver axis and gut-kidney axis.

What is dietary fiber?

Dietary fiber (DF) is a term that comprises a wide variety of non-digestible carbohydrates. Besides, the Institute of Medicine has categorized DF into two main categories:

1.-  Dietary fiber, non-digestible carbohydrates that can be found in plants as lignin.

2.- Functional fiber, isolated and non-digestible carbohydrates that provide beneficial effects in humans.

Other categories like viscosity, solubility, and susceptibility to fermentation are proposed in dietary fiber classification. These categories are descriptive of the structure and function.

Viscosity is a more suitable term than solubility because it is a better predictor of physiologic outcomes. Consequently, dietary fiber’s gel-forming ability is difficult to establish since it depends on the fiber’s pH, temperature, and concentration. On the other hand, fermentation susceptibility by gut microbiota separates into fermentable and non-fermentable. This characteristic is defined by the DF’s capacity to produce SCFA from the feces’ disappearance of fiber.

Common fiber types:

Once again, dietary fiber classification is difficult since variations regarding structure, glycosidic linkages, polymerization, and substitution degree.

How to get my daily DF

Dietary fiber comes in all types of viscosity, and fermentation capabilities, also it is ubiquitously included in multiple fresh foods and vegetables.

Gut microbiota

The gut has two vital actions involved in transport and absorption. The first one is allowing the nutrients to enter the body while avoiding the entrance of harmful substances. Also, the gut microbiota contributes excellently to the metabolism of several nutrients. The word “microbiota” refers to archaea, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that live symbiotically in our gut. Despite being comprised of many organisms, bacteria are the most studied modulators of the microbiota.

These studies conclude that microbial genes can expand the host’s metabolic potential by providing enzymes, which can fermentate DF. This genome is not fixed as the human, and it can be ever-changing depending on the amount of DF, dietary patterns, disease, stress, exercise, and environmental exposures.

Dietary fiber intake can induce an up-regulation of globet cells and induce the production of mucins. Mucin is found in mucus along with ions, proteins antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, and bacteria. Nevertheless, mucus’s primary function is to lubricate to ease the transit of digested food, reduce mechanical stress produced by this transportation, and prevent the translocation of harmful substances. In conclusion, mucus provides an extra layer of protection to gut epithelial cells that promotes beneficial bacteria growth.

The SCFA produced by DF through bacterial fermentation provides a wide array of benefits.
  • Decrease intestinal pH, altering the gut microbiota resulting in a down-regulation of microbial virulence genes and pathogen growth inhibition.
  • SCFA is metabolized by epithelial cell lines, resulting in oxygen reduction that stabilizes the hypoxia.-inducible factor 1a.
  • SCFA promotes cell differentiation and growth, associated with a higher number of jejunal tight junctions.
  • Reduction of intestinal permeability.

Immune responses and DF

Since the gut harbors approximately 70-80& of the body’s immune cells, it is also the major source of inflammation resulting in NAFLD and CKD conditions. DF’s functional immunomodulatory activities have associated fructooligosaccharides FOS), arabinoxylans, and B-glucans with an increased level of IgA. Consequently, IgA plays an important role in maintaining gut barrier function by binding to microbes and preventing adhesion and translocation of bacteria across the gut barrier.

In recent studies, the supplementation of 150-mM of SCFA in mice resulted in an up-regulation of T-cells. Furthermore, this increase in T-cells is linked to reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines. However, the underlying factor is the gene expression inhibition of histone deacetylase 6 (HDA6) and (HDA9).

How does DF protect the liver?

The liver is the target organ of every gut-derived factor induced by the microbiome and dietary changes. It also receives all the blood circulation from the gut via the portal vein. It has been proposed that the hepatic effects of DF can influence microbiome ecology, thus improving gut permeability, systemic inflammation, and gut-derived hormone signals. Also, a higher intake of fiber has been linked to reduced translocation of bacterial LPS. This can ultimately influence the hepatic exposure of pro-inflammatory products derived from the gut.

Cytochrome p450

Furthermore, this reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine exposure is vital to diminish the risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Conversely, hepatic antioxidant enzymes as hepatic and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and catalase concentration raise in the presence of high dietary fiber intake. Also, DF is associated with an up-regulation on the expression of detoxifying enzymes like cytochrome p450 1A2.

Body composition

Dietary fiber is tightly linked to body composition management, weight loss, and glucose control. A body composition assessment is a vital part of any nutritional intervention


The detoxifying action of dietary fiber is a fact (and by detoxifying we mean epithelial protection, exclusion of harmful pathogens, antioxidant enzyme up-regulation, and promotion of cytochrome p450). Detox is not a magic word, is a term that comprises multiple biochemical actions that in turn ease antioxidant processes, detoxifying actions and promote gut health. These aforementioned mechanisms promote a sense of well-being. The intake of dietary fiber contributed tremendously to the promotion of health, through liver and gut detox. Sadly, the average dietary fiber intake in America is 15 grams, barely half of the recommended 30 grams/day of DF, from foods. Sometimes, energy restriction or dietary preferences might make it difficult to acquire the 30g/day of DF target, this is when supplementation is recommended.-Ana Paola R. Arciniega. Master in Clinical Nutrition.


Parnell, Jill A., et al. “The potential role of prebiotic fiber for treatment and management of non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease and associated obesity and insulin resistance.” Liver International 32.5 (2012): 701-711.

Sun, Yvonne, and Mary XD O’Riordan. “Regulation of bacterial pathogenesis by intestinal short-chain fatty acids.” Advances in applied microbiology. Vol. 85. Academic Press, 2013. 93-118.

Sun, Yvonne, and Mary XD O’Riordan. “Regulation of bacterial pathogenesis by intestinal short-chain fatty acids.” Advances in applied microbiology. Vol. 85. Academic Press, 2013. 93-118.

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us 915-850-0900 Read More…

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com
phone: 915-850-0900
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico



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