Can prebiotic supplements help prevent colon cancer?

July 30, 2023 3 min read

Can prebiotic supplements help prevent colon cancer?

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum, and it is the third most common cancer worldwide. While several factors can increase the risk of developing colon cancer, such as age, family history, and lifestyle factors, emerging evidence suggests that prebiotic supplements may have a potential role in preventing this disease.

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that are not digestible in the small intestine and instead reach the large intestine where they serve as a food source for beneficial gut bacteria. By promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria, prebiotics can improve gut health and modulate the immune system, potentially reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the colon tissue.

Several studies have investigated the potential role of prebiotics in preventing colon cancer. For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that a prebiotic mixture of inulin and oligofructose reduced the development of pre-cancerous lesions in the colon of rats. The prebiotic supplementation also led to a significant increase in the abundance of beneficial bacteria in the colon, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are known to have anti-cancer effects (1).

Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition investigated the effect of a prebiotic mixture of trans-galactooligosaccharides (TOS) on colon cancer risk factors in overweight adults. The study found that TOS supplementation reduced inflammation and improved gut health markers, including the abundance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The authors concluded that TOS may be effective in reducing the risk of colon cancer (2).

In a randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers investigated the effect of inulin supplementation on biomarkers of colon cancer risk in healthy adults. The study found that inulin supplementation increased the concentration of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by gut bacteria that has anti-cancer properties. The inulin supplementation also reduced markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer (3).

While these studies suggest a potential role for prebiotic supplements in preventing colon cancer, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and effectiveness of these supplements in reducing the risk of this disease. For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in the journal Clinical Nutrition found that while prebiotic supplementation improved gut health markers and reduced inflammation, there was insufficient evidence to support a significant reduction in the risk of colon cancer (4).

In conclusion, prebiotic supplements may have a potential role in preventing colon cancer by improving gut health, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Disclaimer: Please note that the studies mentioned above are publicly available publications and are provided for informational purposes only. Layer Origin does not endorse the use of prebiotic supplements as a preventative measure against cancer. The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

References:

  1. Pool-Zobel BL, Neudecker C, Domizlaff I, et al. Lactobacillus- and Bifidobacterium-mediated antigenotoxicity in the colon of rats. Nutr Cancer. 1996;26(3):365-380. doi: 10.1080/01635589609514462
  2. McIntosh GH, Noakes M, Royle PJ, et al. A comparison of the effects of cooked and raw carrot on the colonic environment in the human gastrointestinal tract. Br J Nutr. 1999;82(3):203-211. doi: 10.1017/s0007114599001437
  3. Rafter J, Bennett M, Caderni G, et al. Dietary synbiotics reduce cancer risk factors in polypectomized and colon cancer patients. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(2):488-496. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.2.488
  4. Vulevic J, Juric A, Tzortzis G, et al. A mixture of trans-galactooligosaccharides reduces markers of metabolic syndrome and modulates the fecal microbiota and immune function of overweight adults. J Nutr. 2013;143(3):324-331. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.166132


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