(BPRW) Diet Swap Provides Clue to African Americans’ Level of Colorectal Cancer Risk

20 May 2013 Author  Lauren Adams

Study Presented at DDW® 2013 Finds Dramatic Changes

Research presented at this year’s Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) features new data on gut bacteria and colorectal cancer risk in African Americans. Researchers found a dramatic and rapid shift in gut microbiota after switching the diet in healthy subjects from a traditional Western diet to a Zulu African diet and vice-versa.

Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the study’s results might explain levels of colorectal cancer risk. “African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the U.S. The reasons for this are not yet understood,” said Franck Carbonero, postdoctoral research associate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Our findings offer insight into this disparity and pave the way for new research.”

Researchers fed 20 Zulu Africans 600 grams of meat per day for two weeks and fed 20 African Americans in Pittsburgh a traditional Zulu diet comprised primarily of a corn-based porridge called putu. Comparing stool samples before and after the diet exchange in each case, researchers found dramatic changes in colonic microbiota.

“Our results show that the human colonic microbiota is shaped by diet in a very dynamic manner,” said Rex Gaskins, PhD, professor of Immunobiology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Not only that, we observed alterations in the balance of beneficial and detrimental microbial groups, which may explain, in part, the increase in colorectal cancer risk that is conferred by a Western diet.”

Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), DDW takes place May 18 to 21, 2013, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. More information can be found at www.ddw.org.

 

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