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Mol Clin Oncol. 2016 Oct;5(4):339-342. Epub 2016 Aug 10.

Bowel movement frequency, oxidative stress and disease prevention.

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College of Life Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710069, P.R. China; National Engineering Research Center for Miniaturized Detection Systems, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710069, P.R. China.
Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, University Hospital of Strasbourg, 67091 Strasbourg, France.


The significance of diet for disease prevention has long been recognised. Dietary recommendations have therefore been integrated in health promotion messages. Gastrointestinal functioning is essential for the digestion of nutrients. Oxidative stress has been observed in patients with constipation, as well as in those with colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses associated with constipation. The coexistence of colorectal neoplasia and coronary artery disease has been incriminated for exposure to common risk factors associated with increased oxidative stress. It was recently demonstrated that bowel movement frequency is inversely associated with cardiovascular mortality. The aim of the present study was to review the relevant literature in light of these findings. It was concluded that suboptimal functioning of the large bowel may contribute to oxidative stress and, therefore, to increased mortality. Bowel movement frequency may represent a simple quantifiable indicator of adequate colonic function and it is dependent on diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, but also on individual characteristics, including colonic microbiota. Future health promotion actions may improve the prevention of a number of diseases by advocating lifestyle personalisation for assuring optimal intestinal functioning.


5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase; Mediterranean diet; bowel function; butyric acid; cardiovascular mortality; chronic diseases; colorectal cancer; constipation; microbiota; oxidative stress

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