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Surg Oncol. 1992 Feb;1(1):43-7.

The effect of lowering faecal pH on the rate of proliferation of the normal colonic mucosa.

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Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Canada.


Epidemiological and animal studies suggest that faecal pH may be a risk factor for colorectal cancer with low faecal pH associated with a lower incidence of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether faecal pH (or dietary fibre) affects the short-term risk factors for colon cancer. Sixty-nine normal volunteers were randomized into three equal groups (A-C). They provided food records, faecal specimens and submitted to rectal biopsy for thymidine labelling studies before and after a 2-week intervention. Group A received a placebo of fruit juice. Group B, approximately 3.0 g d-1 sodium sulphate in juice. Group C, 30 g d-1 supplementary dietary fibre as wheat bran in bread. Age, sex, weight, height and intake of macronutrients and minerals were similar in the groups prior to intervention. Faecal pH was similar for the three groups before and was reduced in Group B after intervention (P = 0.001) with a relative reduction of 0.5 pH units. The labelling index for the three groups was similar prior to intervention; after, it was lowest in Group B with a relative reduction of 0.5% points, although this difference was not statistically significant. The results thus do not support the hypothesis that an acidification of faecal pH leads to a reduction in risk markers for colon cancer.

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