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Findings bolster fiber's role in colon health
Date:1/16/2014

Augusta, Ga. - Scientists have more reasons for you to eat fiber and not abuse antibiotics.

They've shown that a receptor doctors already activate with mega-doses of niacin to protect patients' cardiovascular systems also plays a key role in preventing colon inflammation and cancer, according to a study featured on the cover of the journal Immunity.

The finding helps explain why a high-fiber diet reduces the risk of colon problems and indicates that when fiber is lacking, niacin, or vitamin B3, just may help keep the colon healthy as well, said Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University and a corresponding study author.

The study found that mice lacking the receptor, Gpr109a, were prone to inflammation and cancer of the colon, said Dr. Nagendra Singh, MCG immunologist, member of the Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program at the GRU Cancer Center, and a corresponding study author.

And, when they gave niacin to mice whose healthy colonic bacteria had been wiped out by antibiotics a frequent occurrence in chronic antibiotic use it helped steer immune cells in the colon into a safe, anti-inflammatory mode.

Good bacteria in the colon thrive on fiber and its digestion produces butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, which Ganapathy discovered years before naturally activates Gpr109a. However this relationship appears limited to the colon, where butyrate levels can soar in the face of a high-fiber diet.

Research teams at GlaxoSmithKline and the University of Heidelberg, Germany showed in 2003 that Gpr109a receptors on the surface of fat cells mediate the protective cardiovascular effect of niacin, including increasing good cholesterol, or HDL, while decreasing levels of disease-producing LDL. Their search for other activators identified butyrate, which led Ganapathy to find that no
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@gru.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
Source:Eurekalert  

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