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Prev Med. 1987 Jul;16(4):540-4.

Fiber, stool bulk, and bile acid output: implications for colon cancer risk.


Dietary fiber has direct effects on stool bulk and bile acid output that may be of relevance in the etiology of colon cancer. Most types of fiber increase the total volume of stool and reduce the concentration of specific substances, including bile acids, that are in contact with the bowel wall. However, fibers differ in their effect on stool bulk, with wheat fiber being a more effective stool bulking agent than fruit and vegetable fibers. In addition, the extent to which a specific fiber reduces bile acid concentration will be modified by its concomitant effects on total fecal sterol excretion. Whereas wheat bran reduces fecal bile acid concentration, pectin, lignin, and oat bran do not. These three fibers significantly increase total bile acid output. Bile acids act as promoters of colonic tumors in mutagenesis assay systems and in various animal models. Human epidemiological studies show a relationship between various dietary variables, including fat and fiber intake, fecal concentration of bile acids, and colon cancer risk.

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