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Originally published December 13 2008

Dietary Fiber and Whole Grains Lower Risk of Small Intestine Cancer

by Reuben Chow

(NaturalNews) The link between the consumption of more dietary fiber and whole grains and a lower incidence of colorectal cancer has been well established through a number of epidemiological studies. Evidence regarding the relationship between such eating habits and the risk of getting cancer of the small intestine has, however, been largely limited or unavailable. However, recent research published in the October issue of Gastroenterology found that the protective effects of dietary fiber and whole grains against cancer extend to the small intestines as well.

Details of Study

The study team from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute conducted a prospective cohort study to attempt to establish any link between the consumption of whole grains and dietary fiber, and the incidence of small intestine cancer. In gist, the team looked at and conducted statistical analysis on dietary data of almost 300,000 men and almost 200,000 women, collected in 1995 and 1996 in the National Institutes of Health - American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study.

Findings of Study

Up to 2003, 165 persons from the entire cohort had developed cancer of the small intestine. Broadly speaking, those who consumed more dietary fiber and whole grains were less likely to get struck by the disease.

When it came to total intake of dietary fiber, those who ranked in the top 20% in terms of the amount consumed had 79% of the risk of getting small intestine cancer, when compared with those who ranked in the bottom 20% in consumption. With regard to fiber from grains, the top quintile's risk was only 51% of the risk of the bottom quintile, while the corresponding relative risk for whole grain foods was 59%.

These findings led the study team to conclude that the "intake of fiber from grains and whole grain foods was inversely associated with small intestinal cancer incidence". Significantly, the reduction in risk, or in other words the protective effects, offered by these foods were consistent as that for colorectal cancer in this same cohort.


The health benefits of consuming sufficient fiber are countless. Fiber helps regulate cholesterol levels. By making one feel full faster, it also helps in maintaining healthy weight. And, of course, it keeps the bowels moving. That obviously helps keep the bowels clean and lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.

Now, we also have empirical evidence that the protective effects of fiber against cancer extends further, quite literally, up the digestive tract, to the small intestines too. And common sense would tell us that, by acting as an intestinal broom and vacuuming the tract, thus keeping the body cleaner, risks of many other cancers and diseases would be markedly reduced as well.

What is also very interesting is that the reduction in small intestine cancer risk was a lot more significant when it came to fiber from grains (relative risk of 51%) and whole grain foods (59%), as compared with total dietary fiber intake (79%).

What does this tell us? Simple besides consuming more fiber overall, eat more whole grains and whole grain foods too, and our risk of small intestine cancer will be even more hugely reduced. In addition, our overall health will surely be greatly improved too, since fiber and whole grains are also known to have a host of other health benefits.

Main Sources

Prospective Study of Dietary Fiber, Whole Grain Foods, and Small Intestinal Cancer (

About the author

Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth. His website, All 4 Natural Health, offers a basic guide on natural health information. It details simple, effective and natural ways, such as the use of nutrition, various herbs, herb remedies, supplements and other natural remedies, to deal with various health conditions as well as to attain good health. His other websites also cover topics such as depression help, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as cancer research and information.

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