(In the words of the article below)
What the goddess of Aspirin, Guanyin, and horse nuggets have in common.
The bottom line at the top, summarizing easily adopted, simple, prevention, therapy, and treatments, especially for dreaded colorectal cancers: NAD+, Niacin, Butyrate, Psyllium, Flax, seem to work together in parallel or complementary fashion. Butyrate is not something you can or would want to buy. Metabolism produces butyrate and analogues as “ketones” for energy when fasting or on a low carbohydrate diet. “Ketogenic diets.” Butyrate and diacetyl, a similar four carbon molecule, at low levels contribute to desirable flavors in cottage cheese, beer and other fermented foods. Butyrate is named for butter where it was first identified in the form of tributyrin, the triglyceride ester, a molecule of glycerol with three butyrates attached.
“The dose makes the poison.”-Paracelsus
Don’t freak out! Butyric acid is the smell of vomit (retrograde intestinal action in emesis/vomiting demonstrates its importance and relatively high presence in the gut) but because butyrate exists in the form of triglyceride in foods only a small amount is present as free fatty acid. And “ketones,” the healthy levels from fasting and ketogenic diets are an order of magnitude lower ~one tenth the amounts resulting from diabetic ketoacidosis.
It’s not the germ, it’s the host/terrain/milieu!-Bernard vs. Pasteur
In the book, The Stress of Life (Mc Graw-Hill, 1956), Dr. Hans Selye, the foremost authority on stress and its effect on the human system, writes: “Let me point out here parenthetically that Pasteur was sharply criticized by many of his enemies for failing to recognize the importance of the terrain (the soil in which disease develops). They said he was too one-sidely preoccupied with the apparent cause of disease: the microbe itself. There were, in fact, many debates about this between Pasteur and his great contemporary, Claude Bernard: the former insisted on the importance of the disease-producer, the latter on that of the body’s own equilibrium. Yet Pasteur’s work on immunity induced with serums and vaccines shows that he recognized the importance of the soil. In any event, it is rather significant that Pasteur attached so much importance to this point that on his deathbed he said to Professor A. Renon who looked after him: “Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.”)
Stress is like a lever, and current physiological and mental state, the terrain, establish the position of the fulcrum for better and worse, determining how much functional advantage or disadvantage stress has in the final result. Eustress is the level of stress that stimulates growth and health. Distress is excess stress with net harmful effects. The factor determining whether stress is good or bad may often be the mental state of the subject at the outset of the trial.
The first article below focuses on the immediate source of butyrate, that produced by bacteria in the gut from dietary fiber. The most studied amplifier of butyrate gut levels is psyllium husk which seems to increase production by itself and leveraging other fiber, as well as the microbe populations that generate butyrate. Not to exclude the possibility of other foods or fibers with similar or even greater effects. But the market for constipation relief has driven research, and the collateral heart health benefits discovered from psyllium husk products like Metamucil have partly determined the targets and results.
Psyllium husk is the seed coat of plantain/plantago species, the common garden weed. The pure seed coat has a bland slightly bitter taste. In gluten-free baked foods, breads and dough the bitterness contributes a desirable flavor replacing something lost when wheat is excluded.
Psyllium and ground flax can be added to porridge or pancakes or bread without compromising taste. In dishes using ginger or pumpkin pie/chai tea/gingerbread spices it’s a slam dunk. Organic whole flax seed has good storage life until ground. Buy one or several electric coffee grinders, typically ~$15 new, to use for grinding flax and many herbs and spices. Psyllium seed husk does not need pulverizing to be effective, flax does.
Researchers report in the April issue of Cancer Research that the GPR109A receptor is activated by butyrate, a metabolite produced by fiber-eating bacteria in the colon. The receptor puts a double-whammy on cancer by sending signals that trigger cell death, or apoptosis, and shutting down a protein that causes inflammation, a precursor to cancer.
More about flax: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21390942
Whole rye may have effects similar to flax, sharing at least one common constituent which produces enterolactone or enterodiols.
What is the role of grapefruit in ketogenic diets? http://www.livestrong.com/article/480028-the-three-day-aha-diet/
List of some foods and dietary supplements with alleged or extrapolated anti-cancer effects: NAD+, Niacin, Beta-Alanine, Flax, Rye, endogenous butyrate production increased by psyllium, butyrate in butter…
Whole real foods… what is not real or natural about psyllium, the seed husk of plantain? (Plantago species, not banana-like plantain) That Metamucil is the commercialized version with added sugar or artificial sweetener and/or orange flavor does not detract from the pure herbal food which has been used for centuries and likely millennia. A copy of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal date 1563 lists the seed as useful for several conditions. The seeds are and have been used for food and medicine going back to ancient times. The husk or seed coat of many seeds has food and medicine value but often discarded. Buckwheat hulls are added back into the flour for flavor and color but it’s now recognized that they increase the nutritional/health value.
As mentioned above, psyllium has been found in studies to increase butyrate production in the gut. It does not require much to have an effect. A heaping teaspoon of psyllium will quickly turn a glass of water into gel. Perhaps in part the dietary fiber effects are due to the increase in viscosity of digesta, entraining other foods that are usually otherwise digested higher up in the GI tract, turning digestible carbs into resistant carbs.
Dietary fiber is a broad classification that does not tell you much by itself. Soluble, insoluble, fermentable, non-fermentable? Specific varieties of polysacharides, beta glucans, have been studied and classified according to the locations of the glucose-glucose linkages and their health/immune support effects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-glucan
The dose makes the poison, wrote the “Father of Toxicology,” Paracelsus. The dose makes the medicine. The dose makes the difference. But only by interacting with the individual host, terrain, milieu. For example, glucose, the common blood sugar, is a reactive aldehyde. Even at moderate levels the reactions with proteins that cause glycosylation or Maillard browning on the crust of bread also cause proteins in the body to be denatured and inactivated. However, at moderate levels metabolism can detoxify and dispose of these. That is what hemoglobin A1c tests are about with diabetics. To say “moderate” is using the No True Scotsman logical fallacy. If there are bad effects then the levels are not moderate. Moderate or not moderate depends on the host.
Chemical reactions go in both directions. OH + H > H2O Water is fairly stable and the potential energy of the H-OH bond drives the reaction strongly toward H2O. But not totally! That is what equilibrium constants, the mass action principle and pH tell you. So too with ketone and ketone bodies, hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. Acetoacetate becomes acetone spontaneously in the body but the ratio of acetone to the “ketone bodies” is low but not negligible. So too with the esterification/hydrolysis reaction glycerol + butyric acid = tributyrin.
The brain gets a portion of its fuel requirements from ketone bodies when glucose is less available than normal (e.g., during fasting, strenuousexercise, low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet and in neonates). In the event of a low glucose concentration in the blood, most other tissues have alternative fuel sources besides ketone bodies and glucose (such as fatty acids), but the brain has an obligatory requirement for some glucose.After the diet has been changed to lower blood glucose utilization for 3 days, the brain gets 25% of its energy from ketone bodies. After about 4 days, this goes up to 70% (during the initial stages the brain does not burn ketones, since they are an important substrate for lipid synthesis in the brain). Furthermore, ketones produced from omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cognitive deterioration in old age.
http://www.plefa.com/article/S0952-3278(06)00090-1/abstract Brain DHA level seems to be an important regulator of brain glucose uptake, possibly by affecting the activity of some but not all the glucose transporters. DHA synthesis from either α-linolenic acid (ALA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is very low in humans begging the question of whether these DHA precursors are likely to be helpful in maintaining cognition during aging. We speculate that ALA and EPA may well have useful supporting roles in maintaining brain function during aging but not by their conversion to DHA. ALA is an efficient ketogenic fatty acid, while EPA promotes fatty acid oxidation. By helping to produce ketone bodies, the effects of ALA and EPA could well be useful in strategies intended to use ketones to bypass problems of impaired glucose access to the brain during aging. Hence, it may be time to consider whether the main omega-3 fatty acids have distinct but complementary roles in brain function.
Note konjac root used in Japan for shirataki noodles.