Health Advice



How to harness the powers of individual forms of fiber

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

"The future of our nation," said former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, "depends on our ability to produce food and fiber to sustain the world." And it is equally true that your individual future as a healthy person depends, in part, on your ability to consume fiber that sustains your inner world.

But what kind of fiber? After all, all fibers aren't the same. Some are insoluble, meaning they pass right through you, doing a splendid job of housecleaning from mouth to exit ramp. Some are soluble, meaning you can digest them and improve your gut and heart health. But until recently, not much was known about the particular benefits of individual forms of soluble fiber.

That's why scientists from the Stanford School of Medicine decided to look at the impact of eating two soluble fibers: AX (arabinoxylan), which is found in whole grains such as wheat, corn, rice, rye, oat and barley, and LCI (long-chain inulin), which shows up in onions, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leeks and bananas. Their study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, discovered that AX was associated with a significant reduction in lousy LDL cholesterol. A moderate intake of LCI was associated with a decrease in inflammation markers and an increase in a good-for-the-gut bacteria called Bifidobacterium that protect you from leaky gut and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Both provide health boosts. So, eat a variety of fiber to improve your heart and gut health and check out the Cleveland Clinic's online article "11 High-Fiber Food You Should Be Eating."



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



Dilbert Rugrats Arctic Circle Bart van Leeuwen Diamond Lil Jeff Danziger