The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 2 • February 2016


Resistant Starch—A Neglected Dietary Component

A recent review (Birt, 2013) explains what resistant starch is and how it benefits human health.

The review first notes that resistant starches (of which they describe four different types) improve health by “reduction of colon cancer precursors, systemic regulation of macronutrient [ie, carbohydrates] metabolism, and altered secretion of hormones...” as well as foster gut health largely via the production of butyrate and other short chain fatty acids. (Birt, 2013)

If these benefits aren’t enough, new research shows that resistant starches cause beneficial changes to the colonic microbiota and can also ameliorate the results of vitamin D deficiency (such as is associated with many diseases, including type I diabetes, dementia) (Littlejohns, 2014); and autoimmune, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infectious disease (Wacker, 2013).

The different types of resistant starch are identified in the review: Type I is found in the endosperm of cereal grains or seeds that are surrounded by protein matrix and cell wall material that interferes with digestion and also, importantly, reduces the glycemic response (just as if you had eaten a low glycemic index meal). Type II is the type found in uncooked potato starch; after cooking this type of resistant starch becomes highly digestible. Type III is characterized by high levels of amylose starch—the type of starch that has fewer branched chains as compared to amylopectin starch, which is easily digested. Type IV is “chemically modified starch” which is likely to be identified on food labels as “modified starch,” which is a natural form of starch that is complexed with a lipid.

See our article on cooking starchy foods with MCT oil and then refrigerating it, which will result in the formation of more resistant starch. [See “New Technology Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive or Complicated”, in the April 2015 issue of Life Extension News.]

As the review explains, [t]he botanical role of starch is to provide plants with a stable reserve of glucose for metabolism.” “Because the amylose component of starch is less branched than amylopectin, high-amylose starch tends to be more resistant to digestion than low-amylose starch.” (Birt, 2013).

It is interesting to know that “foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, and bread are low in resistant starch (<2.5%, dry matter basis). Cooked legumes, peas, and cooked and cooled starchy foods are high in resistant starch (5.0-15%, dry matter basis).” You can continue to enjoy the foods low in resistant starch or not eat foods containing high quantities of resistant starch (if you don’t care for them) by taking resistant starch in the form of a dietary supplement. We take a resistant starch supplement and Durk also cooks his high fiber pasta with MCT oil to increase the Type IV resistant starch his (and sometimes Sandy’s) diet supplies.

Birt, Boylston, Hendrich, et al. Resistant starch: promise for improving human health. Adv Nutr. 4:587-601 (2013).

Littlejohns et al. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 83:920-8 (2014).

Wacker and Holick. Vitamin D—effects on skeletal and extraskeletal health and the need for supplementation. Nutrients. 5:111-148 (2013).

[See “New Technology Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive or Complicated”, in the April 2015 issue of Life Extension News.]

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