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Researchers Determine Why A Fiber-Rich Diet Reduces Risk Of Colon Inflammation, Cancer

January 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have determined that a high-fiber diet cuts the risk of colon problems because fiber – which supports good bacteria in the gut – activates a receptor that helps prevent colon inflammation and cancer (while protecting the cardiovascular system).  The same receptor is activated by high levels of niacin, administered by doctors when a patient has abused antibiotics, destroying beneficial bacteria. Good bacteria in the colon thrive on fiber and its digestion produces butyrate, a fatty acid that naturally activates the receptor, Gpr109a. The relationship is limited to the colon, where butyrate levels can soar with a high-fiber diet.
Nagendra Singh et al., "Activation of Gpr109a, Receptor for Niacin and the Commensal Metabolite Butyrate, Suppresses Colonic Inflammation and Carcinogenesis", Immunity, January 16, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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