A well-functioning immune system is essential to protect our body against attacks from harmful pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria. Increasing evidence emerges that dietary fibers, like chicory inulin, used by our intestinal microbiota also have an important role in regulating our immune system. Prebiotics are an important component of our daily diets for their positive influence on our gut microbiota and thereby on our immune system.
Consumption of soluble dietary fibers leads to increases in beneficial gut bacteria such as the bifidobacteria, and prebiotics are especially strong in stimulating bifidobacteria. These bacteria with the help of others give greater levels of SCFA. SCFA maintain an environment favorable for our microbiota and these in turn control pathogens’ growth. Furthermore, as these SCFA will be absorbed into the bloodstream, they will reach and positively affect other parts of our immune system and our organs as well.
Altogether, the fiber-SCFA effect is to trigger immune reactions which support immunity against infections and reduce inflammation. The intestinal immune system can interact with and be influenced by components of our diet. Consequently, the intestine is the site where dietary fibers and prebiotics can exert their effects on the immune system.