Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging

As mammals age, immune cells in the brain known as microglia become chronically inflamed. In this state, they produce chemicals known to impair cognitive and motor function. That’s one explanation for why memory fades and other brain functions decline during old age. But, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, there may be a remedy to delay the inevitable: dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When these bacteria digest fiber, they produce short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs), including butyrate, as byproducts.


“Butyrate is of interest because it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties on microglia and improve memory in mice when administered pharmacologically,” says Rodney Johnson, professor and head of the Department of Animal Sciences at U of I, and corresponding author on the Frontiers in Immunology study.


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4 responses to “Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging

  1. Following my careerending brain injury, the clearest measure of my state of recovery was getting a read in on the level of inflammation in the brain. I was gradually able to recognize when there inflammation increased or appeared again following certain activities or level of intensity of certain activities. Having dealt with brain injury for 7 years now, I think the key to avoiding or delaying onset of dementia lies in managing and finding ways to reduce and eventually eliminate inflammation in the brain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much for sharing that, Jasper. I find the brain to be the most fascinating organ in the body. Best of luck in your quest, which, in fact, we all share.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed. Having lived at the edge of my limitations for several years I’m much more aware of what happens when I hit that tipping point. Instead of taking my brain function for granted as I did pre-ABI, I now have a much deeper awareness and appreciation of the key role the brain play. Treasure and take care of one’s brain.

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  2. Reblogged this on BionicOldGuy and commented:
    In his book Fiber Fueled, which I recently reviewed, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz stresses the importance of the gut microbiome generating healthy short-chain fatty acids when consuming plant foods with lots of soluble fiber. One of these is butyrate. This important new study shows butyrate reduces inflammation in the brain, which should help with healthy brain aging. Great post, thanks, Tony

    Liked by 1 person

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