Inositol: The Long and the Short of Inositol’s Fiber Part

So where does Inositol come from.  We will look to the origins of how we get inositol, why we cannot get it from our foods anymore and then where is it needed in the body.

Let’s first look at where it comes from within our food supply.  Fiber is found in plants we eat.  When we consume them, fiber is resistant to our digestive enzymes and by our intestinal flora.  We get flora from eating things like sauerkraut, yogurts.  We also add flora by supplementing with probiotics.

So, we may know that flora are beneficial organisms living in our body.  But what we may not know is that flora lives in the areas of the colon and can be found on our skin surface.  These are the good bacterias of which our body contains some three pounds of and without them we would die.  

Fibers can be soluble or insoluble.  The soluble fibers are broken down in the intestine increasing stool bulk.  The insoluble fibers absorb a lot of water resulting in increasing stool size.

Fibers are a kind of cleaning service.  They are the broom that cleans our systems so that stool does not hang around creating issues as it ferments.  We all know what it’s like to have garbage hanging around in our house so imagine that same principle applying to our system.  A clean system is the healthiest system.

For a long time now we know that Fiber has been recognized in the prevention of colon cancer.  Cereals used it in their advertisings. 

It was demonstrated by Dr S. L. Malhotra in India in 1968 that high-fiber diets showed reduced risk of various diseases, including colon cancer.  Fiber sticks to cancer causing substances or chemicals and dilutes or absorbs them.   This “broom” sweeps out intestinal debris.  If this debris remains unchecked, pockets form in the walls of the colon known as diverticulum.  When inflamed we experience pain known as “diverticulitis”.   I have had diverticulitis and can personally attest to the severity of the associated pain. 

We all have heard of the other benefits of a soluble fiber in Oat bran which removes cholesterol from our body.  Fiber is also found in fruits, vegetables and as the outer grains as well as beans, peas and corn. Fiber is not so important for fighting cancer.  Remember its our housekeeping “broom”. 

Over the past we have experienced many statements of fiber which spanned from “Fiber fights cancer” or “may fight cancer” to “Fiber is not so important in fighting cancer.”  Let’s review the key facts are about fiber and see if it can be a tool for fighting cancer.

With regard to diet, high-fiber diets have been aligned with low incidence of colon cancer.  In a Japanese study it was shown that higher intake of rice and wheat corresponded to fewer deaths from colon or rectal cancers.

When western diet fads moved to increased intake of fat and protein coupled with reduced intake of fiber, we lost the health benefits associated with fiber.  The result of this change showed an increase in fat which contributes more to colon cancer.

Bran contains a very important “sugar” (by structure only) called inositol hexaphosphate (IP6).  This IP6 is also known as phytic acid or phytate.

As mentioned before, we find it in cereals, nuts, legumes and oil seeds. IP6 can protect cells from harmful reactions. It prevents excess iron from interacting with and damaging cells.  What IP6 does is to encapsulate (or chelate) iron atoms thereby preventing iron from interacting with other cellular structures. By encapsulating and removing the excess iron,  IP6 prevents free radicals from accumulating out of control and damaging cells. So, free radicals can be either good for us or not depending on their volume.

When at controllable levels  free radicals help us by attacking damaged cells, removing them, and expelling them from the body via normal channels. At uncontrollable rates, these same free radicals are destructive to our body.

Phytate (or IP6) acts as an antioxidant because it inactivates the oxidant which is iron bringing the free radicals under control impacting throughout our body in beneficial ways.

Eating bran no longer benefits this aspect of our conversation because processing removes the outer shell of the bran where the fiber is removing this benefit.  Rice, another area also is polished which removes IP6 and corn where an abundance of IP6 is found is now degermed.  Therefore, like the removal of iodine from bread and replaced by bromine which works to eliminate iodine from the body so is IP6 removed as mentioned.  Our only recourse on both is to supplement. 

Next, we can explore the benefits of IP6 and how it benefits the cells throughout our body.

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