You are here

Home » Home » Research

Resistant starch as a prebiotic and synbiotic: state of the art

Non-infectious diseases such as coronary heart disease and certain cancers have become major causes of death and disability in affluent countries. Probiotics (principally lactic acid bacteria; LAB) may assist in lowering the risk of these diseases.

Experimental studies with probiotics have given generally inconclusive outcomes for infectious disease and for biomarkers for non-infectious disease. In part this situation may reflect their inability to colonise the adult human gut effectively.

Prebiotics can assist in promoting colonisation, and resistant starch (RS), as a high-amylose starch, is a prebiotic and synbiotic.

Resistant starch exerts its synbiotic action through adhesion of the bacteria to the granule surface. Consumption of resistant starch assists in recovery from infectious diarrhoea in man and animals.

A rice porridge, high in resistant starch, appears to modify the autochthonous (native; naturally occurring; found in the place where they belong or are formed) porcine (pig) large-bowel microflora favourably through lowering E. coli and coliform numbers.

Many of the beneficial effects of resistant starch on large-bowel function appear to be exerted through short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) formed by bacterial fermentation.

In man lactic acid bacteria are found in relatively highest numbers in milk-fed infants where the profile of fermentation products differs quite markedly from that in adults.

It appears unlikely that ingestion of current probiotics will alter either total short-chain fatty acids or the proportions of the major acids. More emphasis needs to be given to the investigation of the effects of complex carbohydrates, including resistant starch, on the autochthonous microflora of the human large bowel.

EDITOR: don't forget ghee!

Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Feb;62(1):171-6.
Resistant starch as a prebiotic and synbiotic: state of the art.
Topping DL1, Fukushima M, Bird AR.


Full Text

Editor's note on ghee:

Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with several vitamins. Ghee made from pastured (grass-fed) cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). And important short chain fatty acid in ghee is butyric acid.

Butyric acid (butanoic acid) belongs to a group of short-chain fatty acids and is thought to play several beneficial roles in the gastrointestinal tract. Butyric anion is easily absorbed by enteric cells and used as a main source of energy. Moreover, butyric acid is an important regulator of colonocyte proliferation and apoptosis, gastrointestinal tract motility and bacterial microflora composition in addition to its involvement in many other processes including immunoregulation and anti-inflammatory activity.

Ghee has been used for centuries as a digestive and elimination aid. Now we are beginning to understand that one reason why is the beneficial role of butryic acid on bacterial microflora composition.

Subscribe to RSS Feed