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Raw Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita) promotes cecal fermentation and reduces plasma non-HDL cholesterol concentration in rats.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Health and Welfare Science, Nayoro City University, Nayoro, Hokkaido, Japan.


We examined the effects of raw Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita), containing resistant starch (RS), on lipid metabolism and cecal fermentation in rats. Raw yam (RY) and boiled yam (BY) contained 33.9% and 6.9% RS, respectively. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a cholesterol-free, control (C) diet supplemented with or without 15 and 30 g of RY or BY/100 g for 3 wk. Plasma total cholesterol concentrations in the tail vein of rats fed the 30% RY diet were significantly lower than in the C group throughout the feeding period. Compared with the C group, non-HDL concentrations in arterial plasma in the 30% RY group was significantly reduced. Liver cholesterol concentration in rats fed the 30% RY diet was significantly higher compared with those fed the C diet. Hepatic cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase mRNA and fecal bile acid excretion were significantly higher in the BY, but not the RY group, compared with the C group. Fecal cholesterol excretion in the 30% RY group was greater compared with the C group. Hepatic microsomal triacylglycerol transfer protein mRNA was significantly lower in the 30% RY group compared with the C group. Cecal pools of acetate, propionate and butyrate were 113-257%, 181-476% and 410-789% greater in the RY group compared with the C group. These results suggest raw yam is effective as a source of RS and facilitates production of short chain fatty acid (SCFA), especially butyrate, in the rat cecum. In addition, RY has a plasma-cholesterol lowering effect, possibly due to the inhibited release of VLDL.

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