Reduce the risk of cancer with this dietary supplement or a daily banana -

Resistant starch for cancer prevention

In a long-term study, targeted promotion of gut bacteria through a dietary supplement was associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer by up to 60%. The supplement is resistant starch which can also be obtained from food.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Newcastle in England showed for the first time that resistant starch helps prevent cancer. The results were recently presented in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starches are carbohydrates that are not digested in the small intestine but fermented in the large intestine. In the colon, this type of starch feeds the beneficial intestinal bacteria.

"We believe that resistant starch may reduce the development of cancer by altering bacterial bile acid metabolism and reducing the types of bile acids that can damage our DNA and possibly cause cancer," says Professor John Mathers of the University of Newcastle.

Where is resistant starch contained

Resistant starches can be taken as dietary supplements, but this type of carbohydrate is also found in a variety of foods, such as

Rolled oats, pasta cooked and cooled again, potatoes and rice, peas, beans, bananas still slightly green.

course of the study

The study was conducted on people with a high hereditary risk for a variety of cancers. The results suggest that resistant starch consumption has an important long-term preventive effect in protecting against certain types of cancer.

As part of the study, the consumption of resistant starch was examined in approximately 1,000 people tested with an increased risk of cancer. All participants took either powdered resistant starch or a placebo daily for two years between 1999 and 2005. Those affected were then followed for more than ten years.

Cancer risk reduced by more than 60% in some cases

The results showed that the protective effect was particularly pronounced against cancer of the upper gastrointestinal tract, including cancer of the esophagus, stomach, biliary tract, pancreas and duodenum.

"We found that resistant starch reduced a range of cancers by more than 60%," confirms Professor Mathers. He said the effects in the upper intestine in particular were most evident.

"This is important because cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract are difficult to diagnose and often go undetected early," Mathers points out.

The dose of a greenish banana is sufficient

"Resistant starches can be taken in powder form and are found in peas, beans, oats, and other starchy foods," Mathers says. The dose used in the study is roughly equivalent to the resistant starch content found in a slightly green banana.

Because the starch contained in young, not yet fully ripe bananas resists degradation, that is, it reaches the intestines, where it has a positive effect on the bacteria living there.

What's also amazing about the results is that the protective effect of resistant starch lasted for the full ten years of follow-up, even though the dietary supplement was only taken for a two-year period. (vb)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


Newcastle University: First trial to prove dietary supplement can prevent hereditary cancer (published 25/07/2022), John C Mathers, Faye Elliott, Finlay Macrae et al: Cancer Prevention with Resistant Starch in Lynch Syndrome Patients in the CAPP2 randomized placebo-controlled trial: 10-year planned follow-up; in: Cancer Prevention Research (2022),

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.