Impact of Dietary Fibers on Nutrient Management and Detoxification Organs: Gut, Liver, and Kidneys

Adv Nutr. 2016 Nov 15;7(6):1111-1121. doi: 10.3945/an.116.013219. Print 2016 Nov.


Increased dietary fiber (DF) intake elicits a wide range of physiologic effects, not just locally in the gut, but systemically. DFs can greatly alter the gut milieu by affecting the gut microbiome, which in turn influences the gut barrier, gastrointestinal immune and endocrine responses, and nitrogen cycling and microbial metabolism. These gut-associated changes can then alter the physiology and biochemistry of the body's other main nutrient management and detoxification organs, the liver and kidneys. The molecular mechanisms by which DF alters the physiology of the gut, liver, and kidneys is likely through gut-localized events (i.e., bacterial nitrogen metabolism, microbe-microbe, and microbe-host cell interactions) coupled with specific factors that emanate from the gut in response to DF, which signal to or affect the physiology of the liver and kidneys. The latter may include microbe-derived xenometabolites, peptides, or bioactive food components made available by gut microbes, inflammation signals, and gut hormones. The intent of this review is to summarize how DF alters the gut milieu to specifically affect intestinal, liver, and kidney functions and to discuss the potential local and systemic signaling networks that are involved.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; fiber; microbiota; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; xenobiotic.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / pathology