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Digestive Health Is Affected By Food Transit Time

1 year, 12 months ago

3836  0
Posted on Feb 25, 2018, 7 p.m.

Transit time affects the amounts of harmful degradation products that are produced along its way, meaning that transit time is an important factor in a healthy digestive system, and is the amount of time that it takes for ingested food to travel through to the human gut and exit, as published in the journal Nature Microbiology.


Food must travel through 8 meters of intestinal tract from the point of entering the mouth until it exists the other end of a healthy adult. This research was conducted to investigate how food transit time through the intestine and colon affects the gut bacteria’s role in the activity and in the health of the digestive system by The National Food Institute, this process was measured by analysing the products of bacterial activity that end up in urine.


Intestinal bacteria prefer to digest dietary carbohydrates, when dietary carbohydrates are deleted the intestinal bacteria will start to break down other nutrients such as proteins. Correlations between bacterial protein degradation products produced in the colon and the various diseases including colorectal cancer, autism, and chronic renal disease have been observed in previous research. It is thought that a diverse gut bacterial population is associated with being healthy. Bacterial richness in stool has been shown in studies to be often associated with long transit time.


Rich bacterial composition in the gut is not always synonymous with a healthy digestive system when it is an indication of a long travel time, as suggested by the team, saying that this shows that the longer it takes for food to pass, the more harmful bacterial degradation products get produced, with shorter times higher amounts of substances produced as the colon renews its inner surface as found which could be a sign of a healthier intestinal wall.


Transit time is shown to be an important factor in the activity of intestinal bacteria with this study, highlighting the importance of constipation prevention which may impact health. As much as up to 20% of the population is estimated to suffer from occasional constipation. Findings of this study can help aid researchers to gain a better understanding of diseases in which constipation is considered to be a risk factor such as Parkinson’s disease, colorectal cancer, as well as in afflictions where constipation often occurs such as autism and ADHD.


Individual dietary habits can directly influence transit time. Shortening transit time can be assisted by drinking adequate amounts of water and consuming a diet rich in fibre. Limiting the consuming meat can also help with transit time, as meat slows down transit time and provides gut bacteria lots of protein to digest. Physical activity can also help to reduce travel time.



Materials provided by Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Henrik M. Roager, Lea B. S. Hansen, Martin I. Bahl, Henrik L. Frandsen, Vera Carvalho, Rikke J. Gøbel, Marlene D. Dalgaard, Damian R. Plichta, Morten H. Sparholt, Henrik Vestergaard, Torben Hansen, Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén, H. Bjørn Nielsen, Oluf Pedersen, Lotte Lauritzen, Mette Kristensen, Ramneek Gupta, Tine R. Licht. Colonic transit time is related to bacterial metabolism and mucosal turnover in the gut. Nature Microbiology, 2016; 1: 16093 DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.93



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