Cancer

There have been many studies done to see if fiber in food can have an anticancer effect in the human body. There is little doubt that the western diet and lifestyle increase the risk of many cancers since societies such as those seen in rural Africa have very low incidences of many cancers. This study reviewed 9 studies done in humans and not animals. Two of the studies tested oligofructose-enriched inulin. While no specific cancer claims can be made, taking prebiotics did show positive effects.

Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are the stars of the prebiotic story. These substances are made in copious amounts when the best colon bacteria are fed with prebiotics. One SCFA is called proportionate. It is made by the good colon bacteria and then slips into the blood and goes to the liver.  A study with mice found SCFA to have a remarkable effect in preventing the growth of liver cancer cells.

In a more recent study, researchers found that consuming a high-fiber diet is associated with a more diverse gut microbiome and a better cancer immunotherapy response.

Gut microbiota-derived propionate reduces cancer cell proliferation in the liver

A recent article in the prestigious journal Cell again links detrimental changes in the gut microbiome to inflammation and then to cancer. While a cause and effect still remain to be determined, the link between dysbiosis of the gut and colon cancer is now stronger than ever.

In another study, researchers show that oligofructose-enriched inulin may provide benefits for patients undergoing radiotherapy.