Diets rich in refined fiber may increase liver cancer risk in some individuals

Many people commonly consume fiber-enriched foods to promote weight loss and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

However, in some individuals — particularly those with a silent vascular deformity — consumption of highly refined fiber may increase the risk of liver cancer, new research from The University of Toledo has found.

The discovery, detailed in a paper published in the journal Gastroenterology, builds on UToledo’s growing area of research expertise that our gut plays an underappreciated role in the origin of disease.

“We have worked for a long time on this idea that all diseases start from the gut,” said Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and the paper’s senior author. “This study is a notable advancement of that concept. It also provides clues that may help identify individuals at a higher risk for liver cancer and potentially enable us to lower that risk with simple dietary modifications.”

Expanding Research

Four years ago, Vijay-Kumar’s team published a major paper in the journal Cell that found a high percentage of mice with immune system defects developed liver cancer after being fed a diet fortified with inulin.

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