Resistant starch: a promising dietary agent for the prevention/treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2013 Mar;29(2):190-4. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32835b9aa3.


Purpose of review: Resistant starch represents a diverse range of indigestible starch-based dietary carbohydrates. Resistant starch has been investigated in the past for its effects on bowel health (pH, epithelial thickness, and apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells); reduction in postprandial glycemia; increased insulin sensitivity; and effects on the gut microbiome. This review highlights advances as resistant starch gains clinical relevance as a potential treatment/preventive tool for diseases such as colorectal cancer (CRC) and diabetes.

Recent findings: Recent articles have evaluated the comparative physiological effects of different types of resistant starch and investigated the effects of resistant starch on blood lipids, body weight, and defining resistant starch-induced changes to the micriobiome that may be important in health and disease. The most novel and relevant recent data describe a role for resistant starch in ameliorating inflammation; the use of resistant starch for optimal bowel health and prevention of CRC; and, further, that the systemic effects of resistant starch may be important for the treatment of other forms of cancer, such as breast cancer.

Summary: This review describes advances in resistant starch research highlighting the gastrointestinal effects that are now being linked to systemic, whole body effects with clinical relevance. These effects have important implications for overall health and the prevention or amelioration of various chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Metagenome / drug effects
  • Starch / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Starch