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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Jan;67(1):136-42.

Effects of resistant starch on the colon in healthy volunteers: possible implications for cancer prevention.

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Department of Medicine, University of W├╝rzburg, Germany.


Recent evidence suggests that resistant starch (RS) is the single most important substrate for bacterial carbohydrate fermentation in the human colon. During two 4-wk periods. 12 healthy volunteers consumed a controlled basal diet enriched with either amylomaize starch (55.2 +/- 3.5 g RS/d; high-RS diet) or available cornstarch (7.7 +/- 0.3 g RS/d; low-RS diet). Approximately 90% of the RS consumed disappeared during intestinal passage; increased fermentation was verified by elevated breath-hydrogen excretion. During the high-RS diet, fecal wet and dry weight increased 49% and 56%, respectively (P < or = 0.005), whereas stool water content did not change significantly. Fecal concentrations and daily excretion of short-chain fatty acids were not different in the two study periods. During the high-RS diet, bacterial beta-glucosidase activity decreased by 26% (P < or = 0.05). Fecal concentrations of total and secondary bile acids were significantly lower during the high-RS than during the low-RS period [a decrease of 30% (P < or = 0.05) and 32% (P < or = 0.01), respectively, in total and secondary bile acids] whereas concentrations of primary bile acids were unaffected by RS consumption. During the high-RS diet, fecal concentrations of total neutral sterols decreased by 30% (P < or = 0.005) and fecal concentrations of 4-cholesten-3-one decreased by 36% (P < or = 0.05). These data suggest that RS has potentially important effects on bacterial metabolism in the human colon that may be relevant for cancer prevention.

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