This type of starch derives its name from the fact that it passes through the small intestine undigested, into the colon where it is broken down by the gut microflora. However, resistant starch itself is not simply one thing as there 3 primary types of resistant starch, physically indigestible starches [RS1], resistant starch granules [RS2] and retro graded starch [RS3] (1). Technically, there is a fourth type that does not occur naturally and is chemically modified [RS4] (2). RS1 is typically found in whole cereal grains, seeds and legumes, whereas RS2 is found in roots, tubers, green, unripe bananas and plantains (3, 4). RS3 is created when a type of starch, such as rice or potatoes, is heated and then cooled, whereby the starch gelatinizes and crystallizes (4, 5). As such, green bananas, plantains, heated and cooled rice and potatoes represent the best sources for obtaining dietary resistant starch. Whereas plantain flour and potato starch represent excellent supplemental RS sources (6). But what can it do for YOU? Well, as addressed before, resistant starch refers to that which avoids being digested in your small intestine and thus can play a vital role, as a prebiotic, in feeding your intestinal microflora (6, 7, 8). Intestinal bacteria, outnumber the host, or “you,” cells in your body 10:1 and in turn are essential in a number of biological activities. They act in two manners by producing short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, and in stimulating the growth and activity of the other beneficial bacteria in the gut (8). Some of the potential benefits include improved satiety, insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control, blood lipid levels and in the production of vitamins and absorption of minerals (6, 7). The production of butyrate is used as the primary fuel source of colon cells and is associated with maintenance of the epithelial lining and exhibits a protective effect against colon cancer (9, 10). However, like many things, resistant starch is not necessarily for everyone. As RS acts as a prebiotic fuel for the gut bacteria, those experiencing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth [SIBO], or other gut dysbiosis, may experience some gastrointestinal distress, such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea and gas. This can particularly be the case in individuals who try to jump in and take too much, too quickly. Something I can personally attest to, as the first time I experimented with RS, I tried 1 tbsp of potato starch along with half of green banana in a shake and had some serious GI issues. Now, this is not to say that it is necessarily bad, but rather that one must go about it in an intelligent manner. Rather than trying to just trying to just implement therapeutic doses out of the gate, it may be better to start low, around 5g or so and then to titrate up. If you are still experiencing distress, it may be prudent to work with a healthcare practitioner to address an underlying dysbiosis. A course of herbal antimicrobial therapy (11), followed by probiotic supplementation, may help prime your gut to be ready for supplementation with resistant starch (12, 13, 14). Again, from my own experience, in my second attempt, I started on a course of MegaSporebiotic before reintroducing the resistant starch and have seen great benefits. In others, we with herbal support, by way of antimicrobials, e.g. grapefruit seed extract, and digestive aids, e.g. DGL licorice, before finally beginning low-dose resistant starch. By setting up the intestinal microbiome for success, we were able to experience many of the benefits that can be conferred by RS. So resistant starch can result in a lot microbiome and metabolic benefits, but it is important to be aware of your current gut health. Starting with and concurrent use of a quality probiotic can also help. Make sure to start slow and gradually increase the amount you are taking in from various sources, including green bananas, plantains, potato and plantain starch, as well as cooked/ cooled retrograde starches. Follow these steps and you should be able to get the most out of your experience! Adapted from Aller et al. (2011). References: 1) Aller, E.E., Abete, I., Astrup, A., Martinez, J.A. & van Baak, M.A. (2011). Starches, sugars & obesity. Nutrients, Vol. 3(3):341–369. 2) Bronkowska, M., Orzeł, D., Łoźna, K., Styczyńska, M., Biernat, J., Gryszkin, A., Zieba, T. & Kapelko, M. (2013). Effect of resistant starch RS4 added to the high-fat diets on selected biochemical parameters in Wistar rats. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. Vol. 64(1):19-24. 3) Langkilde, A.M., Champ, M. & Andersson, H. (2002). Effects of high-resistant-starch banana flour (RS2) on in vitro fermentation & the small-bowel excretion of energy, nutrients, & sterols: An ileostomy study. Am J Clin Nutr. Vol. 75(1):101-111. 4) Chen, L., Liu, R., Qin, C., Meng, Y., Zhang, J., Wang, Y. & Xu, G. (2010). Sources & intake of resistant starch in the Chinese diet. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. Vol. 19(2):274-282. 5) Ha., A.W., Han, G.J. & Kim, W.K. (2012). Effect of retrograded rice on weight control, gut function & lipid concentrations in rats. Nutr Res Pract. Vol. 6(1):16-20. 6) Birt, D.F., Boylston, T., Hendrich, S., Jane, J.L., Hollis, J., LI, L., McClelland, J., Moore, S., Phillips, G.J, Rowling, M., Schalinske, K., Scott, M.P. & Whitley, E.M. (2013). Resistant starch: Promise for improving human health. Adv Nutr. Vol. 4(6):587-601. 7) Raigond, P., Ezekiel, R. & Raigond, B. (2015). Resistant starch in food: A review. J Sci Food Agric. Vol. 95(10):196-1978. 8) Zaman, S.A. & Sarbini, S.R. (2015). The potential of resistant starch as a prebiotic. Crit Rev Biotechnol. 1-7. [Epub ahead of print]. 9) Ou, J., Carbonero, F., Zoetendal, E.G., DeLany, J.P., Wang, M., Newton, K., Gaskins, H.R. & O’Keefe, S.J. (2013). Diet, microbiota, & microbial metabolites in colon cancer risk in rural Africans and African Americans. Am J Clin Nutr. Vol. 98(1):111–120. 10) Kasubuchi, M., Hasegawa, S., Hiramatsu, T., Ichimura, A. & Kimura, I. (2015). Dietary gut microbial metabolites, short-chain fatty acids & host metabolic regulation. Nutrients. Vol. 7(4):2839–2849. 11) Chedid, V., Dhalla, S., Clarke, J.O., Roland, B.C., Dunbar, K.B., Koh, J., Justino, E., Tomakin, E. & Mullin, G. E. (2014). Herbal therapy Is equivalent to rifaximin for the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Glob Adv Health Med. Vol. 3(3):16–24. 12) Rosania, R., Giorgio, F., Principi, M., Amoruso, A., Monno, R., Di Leo, A. & Ierardi, E.(2013). Effect of probiotic or prebiotic supplementation on antibiotic therapy in the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: A comparative evaluation. Curr Clin Pharmacol. Vol. 8(2):169-172. 13) Chen, W.C., & Quigley, E.M. (2014). Probiotics, prebiotics & synbiotics in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: Opening up a new therapeutic horizon! Ind J Med Res. Vol.140(5): 582–584. 14) Kwak, D.S., Jun, D.W., Seo, J.G., Chung, W.S., Park, S.E., Lee, K.N., Khalid-Saeed, W., Lee, H.L., Lee, O.Y., Yoon, B.C. & Choi, H.S. (2014). Short-term probiotic therapy alleviates small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, but does not improve intestinal permeability in chronic liver disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. Vol. 26(12):1353-1359.]]>
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