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Three recent studies show that short chain fatty acids made in your colon when you eat certain foods help prevent and treat colon cancer.

The first study showed that colon cancer cells, removed from patients at the time of surgery, reverted towards normal when they were placed in a media containing short chain fatty acids (1). The second study shows that short chain fatty acids causes the growth of good bacteria that heal intestinal linings and prevent cancer (2). And the third paper shows that germinated barley helps good bacteria grow in the colon, that help to heal the damage of ulcerative colitis (3).

These articles confirm the theory that a diet rich in undigestible starch helps prevent colon cancer. Whole grains and many other high-fiber foods contain starches that cannot be absorbed in the upper intestines, so they pass to the colon where they are broken down by good bacteria to form short-chain fatty acids that cause the intestinal lining to heal and also help prevent colon cancer. These nonabsorbable starches also cause growth of the good bacteria that break them down into short-chain fatty acids.

1) Short chain fatty acids differentially modulate cellular phenotype and c-myc protein levels in primary human nonmalignant and malignant colonocytes. NJ Emenaker, MD Basson. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 2001, Vol 46, Iss 1, pp 96-105Address Basson MD, Yale Univ, Sch Med, Dept Surg, 333 Cedar St, POB 208062, New Haven,CT 06520 USA.

2) The role of the colonic flora in maintaining a healthy large bowel mucosa. MA Chapman. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 2001, Vol 83, Iss 2, pp 75-80.Address Chapman MA, Good Hope Hosp, Sutton Goldfield, W Midlands, ENGLAND.

3) Dietary fiber fraction of germinated barley foodstuff attenuated mucosal damage and diarrhea, and accelerated the repair of the colonic mucosa in an experimental colitis. O Kanauchi, T Iwanaga, A Andoh, Y Araki, T Nakamura, K Mitsuyama, A Suzuki, T Hibi, T Bamba. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2001, Vol 16, Iss 2, pp 160-168Address Kanauchi O, Kirin Brewery Co Ltd, Corp Res & Dev Div, Appl Biores Ctr, Miyaharacho 3, Takasaki, Gumma 37012, JAPAN

Checked 5/3/07

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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