Do you keep reading and hearing that you need to eat more fibre in your diet? Do you think fibre is particularly beneficial for your health and especially your intestinal health? Find out more about dietary fibre and its importance.

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Food for the intestinal bacteria

Fibre is an important part of our diet. Some of these soluble plant food fibres serve as food for useful intestinal bacteria by converting them into short-chain fatty acids, lactate and other valuable metabolites.

What is fibre?

Fibre is predominantly found in plant-based foods, i.e. carbohydrates. A distinction is made between water-soluble and water-insoluble fibre. Fibre is largely indigestible for the human organism. Nevertheless, it is now seen as an important component of human nutrition. Sometimes the term raw fibre is equated with roughage, but this is not entirely correct. A lot of roughage is rich in raw fibres but does not consist solely of these cellulose fibres.


The indigestibility of most fibre is because the human digestive tract does not have an enzyme for its digestion or it cannot be transported through the cell membrane of the intestine into the intestinal mucosa due to the lack of transport proteins. 

We humans have several different “transporters” in the intestine – these are special proteins – which transport sugars such as glucose or other nutrients into the intestinal mucosa, for example, from where they can later enter the bloodstream. The different fibres differ in their indigestibility. Some are completely indigestible, others only partially. Fibre, or roughage has some important functions in the human body:


It increases the food volume in the stomach without increasing the energy content. This way, fibre contributes significantly to the feeling of being full. It swells up in the stomach because it absorbs water. This leads to a distention of the stomach after a meal. This stretching stimulus reduces the release of the appetite-stimulating messenger substance ghrelin and can help us to feel full and not eat any more. Since fibre also causes the chyme to remain in the stomach for a longer period, this feeling of satiation lasts a long time.


The increased volume is also noticeable in the intestine due to the fibre. It thus puts pressure on the intestinal wall as part of a fibre-rich chyme. This stimulates the movement of the intestine – so-called peristalsis. As a result of the stimulation of peristalsis, the food remains in the intestine for less time. This is therefore an opposite effect to the longer duration that it stays in the stomach. In the intestine, a shorter retention time of the chyme has a positive effect, because, among other things, various toxins also remain there for less time. The fibre transports the toxins through the small and large intestine to excretion, because water-insoluble fibres pass through the digestive tract unchanged. In the intestine, the water-soluble fibres also partially serve as food for various bacteria living in the intestinal flora. The intestinal flora ferments the fibre, from which gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen are produced. However, short-term fatty acids are also formed. These fatty acids can contribute to the nutrition of the mucosal cells in the intestinal mucosa. 

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What are typical fibres?

  • Water-insoluble representatives of fibre are beta-glucans, cellulose, lignin or xanthan.
  • Water-soluble representatives of fibre are fructane, pectin, inulin or carageenan.

Is all fibre beneficial to human health?

There are also plant fibres that plants form for their protection. Their purpose is to protect the plant from pests. If we ingest such fibre with our food, this can lead to damage of the intestinal mucosa and our immune system. For example, the phytic acid contained in cereals is problematic as a component of fibre. It can cause severe flatulence. In addition, some research indicates that phytic acid makes the absorption of minerals more difficult. Fresh grains are soaked overnight to reduce the phytin content. 

How much fibre do we need daily?

There are various recommendations for how much fibre to consume per day. The German Nutrition Society recommends that you should consume about 30 grams of fibre daily. This fibre should primarily come from vegetables, whole grain products, fresh fruit and nuts. Various health organisations from other countries give recommendations of over 25 grams of fibre per day. Some even assume a value of only 20 grams.

The more fibre, the better?

It is not clear whether there is an upper limit for the absorption of fibre. However, it is important to move slowly from a low-fibre diet to a more fibre rich diet. Initially, digestive disorders can occur if large amounts of fibre are suddenly introduced. In addition, it seems that the digestive systems of different people react differently to the consumption of fibre. You may be aware of this phenomenon in relation to wholemeal bread and other wholemeal products. While some people tolerate wholemeal bread that is recommended as healthy, others may experience digestive symptoms.

Statistical surveys currently point out that too much fibre is hardly to be feared. Most people in Germany admit that they consume considerably less fibre than the recommended 20 to 30 g per day. Most of the fibre comes from cereals, while fruit and vegetables tend to hover in the background. Nutritional experts see it as healthier to eat more fruit and vegetables – especially vegetables.

Biogena ColonBalance®practice test

More fibre, better well-being

The ingestion of special plant fibers (roughage) influences the function and composition of our intestinal flora. This is because the good bacteria in the intestine use the fibre for their nourishment and their proliferation. The more bacterial types that colonize the intestine, the better. A large variety of bacteria contributes to a stable intestinal flora, which is well-armed against disorders of all kinds. This is important because favorable bacterial colonization is not only associated with digestive processes and bowel functions but also with the metabolism and the psyche and thus with well-being. However, good intestinal bacteria find life difficult, because fibre absorption is much too low in developed Western countries.

The method

Our practice test aims at showing whether increasing dietary fibre intake by 10 grams daily in persons with a sub-optimal bowel function leads to a measurable improvement in well-being. For this purpose, the subjective quality of life was determined at the start and end of the eight-week trial using the WHO-5 questionnaire on well-being.

The test preparation

Biogena ColonBalance® is a taste-neutral powder with a high content of soluble fibre (acacia fibres [Fibregum™], amylopectin, citrus pectin, and resistant dextrin), which the intestinal bacteria prefer to use as a food substrate. The participants used 10 grams of powder daily, dissolved in a glass of water, at any time in addition to their normal diet.


The results of this product test are consistently positive. More soluble fiber in the form of Biogena ColonBalance® led to better well-being and quality of life. The participants of this practical test significantly improved their well-being values by 39% and felt more relaxed, in a better mood, more active, more rested, and more interested. Biogena ColonBalance® is an easy-to-use, taste-neutral and well-tolerated powder. It is stirred into water or food. Its soluble fibres have important nutritional physiological functions. Increasing daily dietary fibre intake brings added health value. And as we all know, people’s health begins in the intestines.

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