Your Gut

Glossary


Bio-Fermentation

A process where carbohydrate materials of a substance are broken down most commonly in the absence of oxygen. The end product is determined by controlling the types of microbes present and the environmental conditions. The end product is more nutritious than the start product because it increases the bioavailability of nutrients.

 

Butyrate  

A short chain fatty acid that lowers inflammation and maintains the gut lining.

 

Dysbiosis

Imbalance in gut bacteria.

 

Fermentation

The breakdown of carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen.

 

Fermented foods

Foods which undergo the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at various rates and to varying degrees. The final product depends on the type of food, the microbial strains present and the environmental conditions. Fermented foods can be more nutritious than their unfermented cousin because:

  1. Microbial organisms can synthesise complex vitamins and growth factors e.g. Vitamin B2 and B12
  2. Microbes cause enzymatic splitting of cellulose (a plant based material that is not digestible for humans) into digestible sugars

 

FODMAPs

An acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”. Restriction of FODMAPs are used in the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

 

Gut Microbiota

Group of microbes that live in the digestive tract (we used to call it gut flora).

 

Highly available bio-active

    Compounds that are not essential vitamins and minerals for the sustainability of the body however confer a health benefit. e.g. antioxidants are considered to be bioactive.

     

    Human Microbiome

    All of the genetic material inside the microbial cells that live on humans.

     

    Human Microbiota

    Group of microbes that lives on and in us, they can be bacteria, fungi and viruses, the microbes can benefit us, live happily in harmony with us or cause us problems.

     

    Oxidation

    The breakdown of carbohydrates in the presence of oxygen (also commonly and confusingly called fermentation).

     

    Prebiotics

    Indigestible fermentable carbohydrates that are derived from plant fibre, this is ‘food’ for the beneficial gut microbes. They essentially pass undigested through the small bowel to the large bowel where they provide an energy source for the beneficial gut microbes. 

     

    Probiotics

    Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. (WHO definition).

     

    Resistant Starch

    Resistant starch is soluble fibre (a prebiotic) that essentially passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. It reaches the colon where it provides food for the beneficial microbes.

     

    Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

    Organic acids with less than six carbon atoms that are produced by bacteria in the colon as a by-product of fermentation of dietary fibre. Examples are acetate, butyrate and propionate. They act as the intermediary between gut cells and the rest of the body to deliver health benefits.

     

    Synbiotic

    A product that contains both prebiotics and probiotics.