Here we go: Resistant Starch vs scFOS, Head-to-Head

I’ll keep this short and sweet. A study published in Cancer Research, the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, pits scFOS against Resistant Starch in mice with colon cancer.

The result? Resistant Starch did nothing. scFOS significantly reduced cancerous tumors.

But there’s more:  scFOS also resulted in the generation of lymphoid tissue in the small intestine. GALT. No, not everyone’s favorite character from one of the more overrated books of the last century. We’re talking about gut-associated lymphoid tissue. The largest mass of immune tissue in the body, defending the body against pathogens and housing T and B cells. Up to 70 percent of the body’s immune system is in the gastrointestinal system.

The scFOS diet resulted in the generation of new lymphoid nodules — Peyer’s Patches — along the small intestine. These are little warehouses of immune system activity in the gut, usually found toward the distal end of the small intestine.

Here’s how the authors explain the results:

sc-FOSs and RS are fermentable fibers that provide protection against earlier stages of colon carcinogenesis: they both reduce the number of azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci in rats, in conjunction with high butyrate production.4 The inefficiency of RS in the present experiment suggests that fermentation either is not involved in the protective effect or is not sufficient by itself.

I’d add one other possibility: perhaps RS simply didn’t stimulate the same amount of fermentation, didn’t target the correct site, or didn’t target the right bacterial species.

Either way…seems like a big deal.

Short-Chain Fructo-oligosaccharides Reduce the Occurrence of Colon Tumors and Develop Gut-associated Lymphoid Tissue in Min Mice


8 thoughts on “Here we go: Resistant Starch vs scFOS, Head-to-Head

  1. Are all RS created equal? In the mice/colon tumor experiment they used corn starch. Any studies showing the difference between corn and potato starch?

    • Not that I know of. They are both RS2, so I don’t think there should be a huge difference. The main takeaway (if any) from this is just that different fibers are complementary and it’s probably good to diversify. Just one study — many others show RS having an effect.

      • RS2 is fermented in the proximal colon only. RS3 is the form that is fermented throughout the large intestine, including the distal colon, providing better protection against colorectal cancer. Which is one of the reasons why I prefer cooked-and-cooled (and then perhaps gently reheated) starch sources over RS2 supplements or, God forbid, unripe bananas and the like.

  2. How does FOS and scFOS handel heat? Is it similar to RS in this respect or is it fine to heat your onions before consumption?

    • i wonder about this as i read on one website that you have to simmer carrots for an hour to break down some of the larger polysaccharides(? – i think they said) into shorter chain fibers that were effectively prebiotics. You’d think that some studies would be done on this, or maybe they have been?

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