Paper Authors and Title

Ellen Lynch (Technological University Dublin), Sophie Mulligan, Suzanne Doyle, “An Investigation into Dietary Fibre Intake, Bowel Function, and Mood in Irish Adults”



Fibre influences gut microbiota, potentially affecting gastrointestinal function and psychological well-being via the gut-brain axis1,2,3. This study primarily investigated the association between bowel function and fibre intake in Irish adults, as well as the relationship between bowel function and mood.


This cross-sectional study involved the distribution of a questionnaire at Technological University Dublin. The questionnaire encompassed previously validated questionnaires to estimate fibre intakes, and assess bowel habits and mood status. Using SPSS tests, the relationships between fibre intake, bowel function, and mood, were analysed.


Responses of 275 participants were analysed. Low-fibre status was prevalent in 50.5% of participants. A significantly higher proportion of males had a low-fibre status compared to females (p=0.039). Mild symptoms of bowel dysfunction were found in 30.2% of respondents and moderate to severe symptoms were present in 13.1%. Fibre status was associated with stool frequency (p=0.008), with those with a high-fibre status more likely to have regular bowel movements. An inverse relationship was observed between estimated fibre intake and symptoms of bowel dysfunction (p=0.033). Those with a lower mood score were more likely to experience disordered bowel symptoms (p<0.001). Similarly, those who were stressed were more likely to face symptoms of bowel dysfunction than those who were not stressed (p<0.001).


This study finds an association between adequate fibre intake and optimal bowel function, as well as an association between bowel function and mood. These relationships should be further explored to establish the need for fibre intervention strategies to reduce the burden of gastrointestinal and psychological disorders.


  1. Khlevner J, Park Y, Margolis KG. Brain-Gut Axis: Clinical Implications. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 2018; 47: 727–739.
  2. Rao M, Gershon MD. The bowel and beyond: the enteric nervous system in neurological disorders. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016; 13: 517–528.
  3. Singh RK, Chang H-W, Yan D, Lee KM, Ucmak D, Wong K et al. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. J Transl Med 2017; 15: 73.


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