Williams Cancer Institute



The intestinal microbiome plays a crucial role in the fermentation of dietary fibers and proteins, affecting various patient outcomes, from the management of cardiometabolic conditions to cancer.

Vegetable prebiotic foods, such as dried beans, offer a safe and scalable strategy to influence the composition and activity of the microbiome, providing health benefits through dietary nutrients selectively fermented by the colon.

Specifically, navy beans, rich in non-digestible oligosaccharides, stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and limit pathogens, supporting their prebiotic properties with varied carbohydrates, essential amino acids, polyphenols, and other bioactive compounds.

In a non-invasive and low-risk dietary intervention clinical trial conducted at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2023, 55 patients were randomly assigned to a control group without beans or an intervention group that added a daily cup of beans to their regular diet.

After 8 weeks, the groups crossed over.

Stool and fasting blood samples were collected every 4 weeks for a total of [duration] to assess intra- and inter-individual changes in the intestinal microbiome and circulating markers and metabolites.

87% of patients completed the study, and an increase in the diversity of their microbiome was observed during the intervention.

Changes in various bacteria indicative of prebiotic efficacy were identified, such as an increase in Faecalibacterium, Eubacterium, and Bifidobacterium.

The circulating metabolome also showed parallel changes in microbiome-derived metabolites and nutrients.

Despite no significant changes in circulating lipoproteins in 8 weeks, alterations in proteomic biomarkers associated with intestinal and systemic inflammatory response were recorded.

These findings underscore the prebiotic role and therapeutic potential of beans in improving the intestinal microbiome and regulating markers associated with metabolic obesity and colorectal cancer. Furthermore, they highlight the importance of consistent and sustainable dietary adjustments in high-risk patients.

Reference: Xiaotao Zhang, Ehsan Irajizad, Kristi L. Hoffman, Johannes F. Fahrmann, Fangyu Li, Yongwoo David Seo, Gladys J. Browman, Jennifer B. Dennison, Jody Vykoukal, Pamela N. Luna, Wesley Siu, Ranran Wu, Eunice Murage, Nadim J. Ajami, Jennifer L. McQuade, Jennifer A. Wargo, James P. Long, Kim-Anh Do, Johanna W. Lampe, Karen M. Basen-Engquist, Pablo C. Okhuysen, Scott Kopetz, Samir M. Hanash, Joseph F. Petrosino, Paul Scheet, Carrie R. Daniel, 30 November 2023, Modulating a prebiotic food source influences inflammation and immune-regulating gut microbes and metabolites: insights from the BE GONE trial, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/ebiom/article/PIIS2352-3964(23)00439-5/fulltext

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