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2011-10-05

Fermented Psyllium Kills Colon Cancer Cells

Several studies have suggested that the partially fermentable fibre called psyllium (Plantago ovata) husk may have a protective effect on colorectal cancer (CRC). This new research just published studied the potentially pro-apoptotic effect (promoting cell death, usually in reference to malignant cells) of psyllium and the implicated mechanisms in CRC cells after its fermentation by bacteria present in the human colon.

The fermentation products of psyllium induced apoptosis (cell death) in all primary tumour and metastatic cell lines. These findings suggest that psyllium could potentially be a useful chemotherapy adjuvant.

These results also point to how important it is that we all have a good balance of probiotic species/strains in our digestive tract. In fact, as more research on probiotics' effect on nutrients comes out, I think you're going to see how important "biotransformation" is (where the bacteria chemically/molecularly alter the nutrients or other compounds which result in new beneficial compounds, which are actually the ones our health benefits from).

A quick aside here... one of the companies I used to consult for wanted to develop a ginseng extract using Ontario ginseng (AKA Canadian ginseng or American ginseng). In my research, I discovered that bacteria in the gut alter the chemistry of the ginsenosides (which are commonly thought to be the beneficial compounds in ginseng). It were these compounds that result from the biotransformation that elicited the positive health benefits of ginseng. This could potentially explain why some people get great health benefits from ginseng (or other botanicals/food) whereas others will not see much benefit despite ingesting the same thing -- perhaps it's their bacterial population in the intestines were different. Anyway, very interesting stuff. Hey, how did this post on psyllium transform into a discussion on probiotics?

Source: Stool-fermented Plantago ovata husk induces apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells independently of molecular phenotype

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