Glossary - D


Defecation refers to the final stage of the digestive process where waste material (stools or faeces) is expelled from the body via the anus. 

Diabetes (Type 1)

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the body's own immune system attacks the pancreas, the organ in the body that produces insulin. The resulting damage to the organ results in the pancreas being unable to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Very high levels of blood glucose can be life-threatening, and so sufferers of this condition must inject insulin daily.


Diarrhoea is defined as frequent, loose and watery stools or bowel movements.  Diarrhoea can be caused by numerous factors including food poisoning, IBS and Colitis.

(Diarrhea is the American spelling)

Dietary fibre

Dietary fibre refers to indigestible components of fruits and vegetables. Dietary fibre is often classified into two groups:

Soluble fibre (including prebiotics) - which is digested by the microbes of the body and fermented in the colon, creating gas and physiologically active byproducts.

Insoluble fibre - aids defecation by absorbing water as it passes through the digestive system.


Taking place in the gastrointestinal tract, this term refers to the mechanical processing and enzymatic breakdown of foods into smaller parts which are more easily utilised and absorbed by the body.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tract and aid in the breakdown of complex macromolecules such as carbohydrates and protein, into their smaller parts. These more simple molecules are then able to be absorbed and utilised by the body more easily. Digestive enzymes are secreted by glands throughout the digestive system including salivary glands which produce saliva and secretary cells in the pancreas and stomach.

Find out more about the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics.


A diuretic increases the excretion of both water and electrolytes from the body as urine. They are available in synthetic form as medication, or naturally in foods such as herbs.

Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis

Diverticulosis is a condition that can occur when the walls of the colon become weakened, sometimes due to long term constipation which exerts pressure on the walls of the gut. Diverticulosis refers to the formation of small pockets or pouches in weak points of the intestine; pouches known as 'diverticula'. Diverticulitis is the disease in which the diverticula (pouches) become inflamed or infected. Diverticulitis is much more common in older people.

Research suggests that having a healthy balance of friendly bacteria in the gut can reduce the risk of diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Healthcare professionals can find out more about good bacteria and diverticulosis on our sister site, Probiotic Professionals.

Double-blind trial

A double-blind trial refers to a scientific experiment in which both the test subjects and the research team are prevented from knowing certain pieces of information (i.e which control group is taking a placebo) that may lead to conscious or subconscious bias - which would invalidate the results.


Dysbiosis, Dys-symbiosis, or dysbacteriosis is the condition which describes an imbalance of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in the body. (ie. too few beneficial bacteria in the gut.) Dysbiosis can be caused by factors such as travel, ageing, or taking antibiotics, which kill off both good and bad bacteria in the system.  It is possible for people to take a particularly long or strong course of antibiotics at some point in their lives, and still suffer from dysbiosis many years later.  

Dysbiosis is thought to contribute to a number of health issues including, but not limited to, IBS, food intolerances and allergies, weight gain, poor skin health, poor immunity, low energy levels, Candida and/or thrush.