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Resistant starch

Resistant starch (RS) is a unique type of dietary carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon largely intact, where it undergoes fermentation by gut bacteria. This fermentation process produces various metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which have garnered scientific interest for their potential health benefits.1Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.

What are the types of resistant starch?

RS is classified into four main types based on its properties and sources:

  1. RS1 – Physically Resistant Starch: RS1 is inherently present within the physical structures of certain foods, such as whole grains, seeds, and legumes. It is shielded from digestion by an outer layer that resists enzymatic breakdown.2Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  2. RS2 – Granular Resistant Starch: RS2 is found in granules within specific starchy foods like raw potatoes and green bananas. These granules resist digestion due to their crystalline structure. 3Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  3. RS3 – Retrograded Starch: RS3 forms when starchy foods like potatoes and rice are cooked and subsequently cooled. The cooling process triggers retrogradation, resulting in the formation of structures resistant to enzymatic digestion.4Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  4. RS4 – Chemically Modified Resistant Starch: RS4 is a chemically altered form of starch used as a food additive. It remains undigested and is often incorporated into processed foods to enhance their fiber content.5Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.

How can you get more resistant starch into your diet?

Our Complete Prebiotic provides a good source of resistant starch. Other dietary sources of resistant starch include legumes (e.g., lentils, chickpeas, and beans), underripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, whole grains (e.g., oats and barley), certain types of rice (e.g., sushi rice), and seeds (e.g., flaxseeds and chia seeds).6Nugent, A. P. (2005). Health properties of resistant starch. Nutrition Bulletin, 30(1), 27-54.

What are the health benefits of resistant starch?

Studies suggest that RS may have several health benefits, including improved gut health, weight management, blood sugar regulation, and heart health.7Higgins, J. A. (2004). Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. Journal of AOAC International, 87(3), 761-768. For example, RS acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while inhibiting harmful species, which contributes to a balanced and healthier gut microbiome.8Topping, D. L., Fukushima, M., & Bird, A. R. (2003). Resistant starch as a prebiotic and synbiotic: state of the art. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 62(1), 171-176.

The fermentation of RS in the colon leads to the production of SCFAs, such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, which have several physiological effects. Butyrate, in particular, serves as a primary energy source for colonic epithelial cells and has been associated with enhanced gut barrier function and reduced inflammation.9Canani, R. B., Costanzo, M. D., Leone, L., Pedata, M., & Meli, R. (2011). Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 17(12), 1519-1528.

RS may also increase feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake, potentially aiding in weight management.10Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Vuksan, V., Vidgen, E., Parker, T., Faulkner, D., … & Josse, R. G. (1999)Physiological effects of resistant starches on fecal bulk, short chain fatty acids, blood lipids and glycemic index. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 18(5), 547-554. Its ability to attenuate post-meal glucose and insulin responses can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to stabilize blood sugar levels.11Birt, D. F., Boylston, T., Hendrich, S., Jane, J. L., Hollis, J., Li, L., … & Whitley, E. M. (2013). Resistant starch: promise for improving human health. Advances in Nutrition, 4(6), 587-601.

Which bacteria are involved in the metabolism/fermentation of pectin?

The metabolism and fermentation of resistant starch (RS) involve various gut bacteria, particularly those equipped with the necessary enzymes to break down RS into beneficial metabolites like short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Here are some key genera of bacteria associated with the metabolism and fermentation of resistant starch:

  1. Bifidobacterium: Bifidobacteria are well-known for their ability to ferment resistant starch, producing SCFAs such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate. They play a crucial role in maintaining gut health and have been linked to various health benefits.12Moens, F., Verce, M., & De Vuyst, L. (2017). Lactate-and acetate-based cross-feeding interactions between selected strains of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and colon bacteria in the presence of inulin-type fructans. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 241, 225-236.
  2. Ruminococcus: Some species of Ruminococcus, such as Ruminococcus bromii, are known for their specialized capacity to degrade resistant starch. They produce enzymes like α-amylases and play a significant role in RS fermentation.13Ze, X., Ben, D., & Liu, L. (2012). Ruminococcus bromii is a keystone species for the degradation of resistant starch in the human colon. The ISME Journal, 6(8), 1535-1543.
  3. Eubacterium: Eubacterium rectale and Eubacterium hallii are examples of Eubacterium species that are involved in RS fermentation, contributing to the production of SCFAs in the colon.14Ze, X., Duncan, S. H., Louis, P., & Flint, H. J. (2012). Ruminococcus bromii is a keystone species for the degradation of resistant starch in the human colon. The ISME Journal, 6(8), 1535-1543.
  4. Prevotella: Prevotella species have been associated with the fermentation of complex carbohydrates, including resistant starch. They are part of the microbial community involved in RS metabolism in the human gut.15De Filippis, F., Pellegrini, N., Laghi, L., Gobbetti, M., & Ercolini, D. (2016). Unusual sub-genus associations of faecal Prevotella and Bacteroides with specific dietary patterns. Microbiome, 4(1), 1-13.
  5. Bacteroides: Certain Bacteroides species possess enzymes like α-amylases and participate in the degradation of RS in the colon. They contribute to the production of SCFAs through RS fermentation.16Scott, K. P., Martin, J. C., Duncan, S. H., & Flint, H. J. (2014). Prebiotic stimulation of human colonic butyrate-producing bacteria and bifidobacteria, in vitro. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 87(1), 30-40.

These bacteria work in synergy to break down resistant starch into simpler components, which are then fermented into SCFAs and other metabolites. The production of SCFAs has various health implications, including the maintenance of gut health, regulation of inflammation, and potential metabolic benefits.

Where to find your resistant starch score in the Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test

You will find your resistant starch score in the “Prebiotics” report in your Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test results. Guidance on how to work with your resistant starch score will be featured in your personal action plan. Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified health provider if you have any questions about the impact of resistant starch on your health.

Synonyms: indigestible starch, non-digestible starch, unavailable starch, non-hydrolyzed starch, non-absorbable starch, complex carbohydrates, fibre-rich starch, fermentable starch, gut-friendly starch

Important disclaimer

The Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Handbook is an educational resource built to translate complex science into plain English. The information provided on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Always check with your GP for interactions with medications/health conditions before changing your diet or starting to take food supplements.

References

  • 1
    Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  • 2
    Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  • 3
    Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  • 4
    Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  • 5
    Englyst, H. N., Kingman, S. M., & Cummings, J. H. (1992). Classification and measurement of nutritionally important starch fractions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(Suppl 2), S33-S50.
  • 6
    Nugent, A. P. (2005). Health properties of resistant starch. Nutrition Bulletin, 30(1), 27-54.
  • 7
    Higgins, J. A. (2004). Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. Journal of AOAC International, 87(3), 761-768.
  • 8
    Topping, D. L., Fukushima, M., & Bird, A. R. (2003). Resistant starch as a prebiotic and synbiotic: state of the art. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 62(1), 171-176.
  • 9
    Canani, R. B., Costanzo, M. D., Leone, L., Pedata, M., & Meli, R. (2011). Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 17(12), 1519-1528.
  • 10
    Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Vuksan, V., Vidgen, E., Parker, T., Faulkner, D., … & Josse, R. G. (1999)Physiological effects of resistant starches on fecal bulk, short chain fatty acids, blood lipids and glycemic index. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 18(5), 547-554.
  • 11
    Birt, D. F., Boylston, T., Hendrich, S., Jane, J. L., Hollis, J., Li, L., … & Whitley, E. M. (2013). Resistant starch: promise for improving human health. Advances in Nutrition, 4(6), 587-601.
  • 12
    Moens, F., Verce, M., & De Vuyst, L. (2017). Lactate-and acetate-based cross-feeding interactions between selected strains of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and colon bacteria in the presence of inulin-type fructans. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 241, 225-236.
  • 13
    Ze, X., Ben, D., & Liu, L. (2012). Ruminococcus bromii is a keystone species for the degradation of resistant starch in the human colon. The ISME Journal, 6(8), 1535-1543.
  • 14
    Ze, X., Duncan, S. H., Louis, P., & Flint, H. J. (2012). Ruminococcus bromii is a keystone species for the degradation of resistant starch in the human colon. The ISME Journal, 6(8), 1535-1543.
  • 15
    De Filippis, F., Pellegrini, N., Laghi, L., Gobbetti, M., & Ercolini, D. (2016). Unusual sub-genus associations of faecal Prevotella and Bacteroides with specific dietary patterns. Microbiome, 4(1), 1-13.
  • 16
    Scott, K. P., Martin, J. C., Duncan, S. H., & Flint, H. J. (2014). Prebiotic stimulation of human colonic butyrate-producing bacteria and bifidobacteria, in vitro. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 87(1), 30-40.

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