WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. & CHICAGO--()--Fiber designed by a Purdue University food scientist may improve digestive health and decrease the risk of colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease.
“My colleagues and I believe Nutrabiotix fiber can be sold in the dietary supplements market, the functional foods market and the medical foods market”
Bruce Hamaker, the Roy L. Whistler Chair in Carbohydrate Science in the Department of Food Science, developed a fiber that is digested slower than other fiber, which could reduce digestive intolerance.
"Intolerance is mainly caused by rapid fermentation, which occurs when bacteria extract energy from fiber," he said. "Nearly everyone is affected by intolerance, depending on the amount of fiber they digest and how rapidly it ferments."
The Purdue-designed fiber travels through the large intestine, including the descending colon where colon cancer, diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis commonly occur. This enables the bacteria in the large intestine to receive nutrients from the fiber, which promotes overall health.
"Butyrate, which is produced in high levels by this fiber, is a beneficial by-product of the fermentation process," Hamaker said. "It has an anti-inflammatory effect and is an energy source for the cells that line the colon."
The fiber has undergone human clinical trials conducted at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, the Josephine M. Dyrenfort Chairperson of Gastroenterology.
"The first trial determined the fiber is well tolerated by patients and produces no side effects," he said. "The second trial compared the fiber to psyllium, a dietary fiber that is used as an ingredient in high-fiber foods. This trial, which received support from the National Institutes of Health and the state of Indiana, showed the fiber was tolerated significantly better than psyllium, increased butyrate and promoted the growth of good bacteria."
The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization filed the patent application on the fiber and exclusively licensed it to Nutrabiotix LLC, a Purdue Research Park-based company.
Mark Cisneros, president and CEO, said Nutrabiotix is developing a granular fiber and a soluble fiber.
"My colleagues and I believe Nutrabiotix fiber can be sold in the dietary supplements market, the functional foods market and the medical foods market," he said. "We have the ability to manufacture the fiber in commercial quantities, and now we are looking for a distributor."
A video about the fiber is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNlcDivotWg