Putrefying Protein and “Toxifying” Enzymes

“Putrefying Protein and ‘Toxifying’ Enzymes” Colon cancer is a leading cancer killer,
yet there’s this paradox in Africa where they rarely get the
disease even in modern times when they are no longer eating
their traditional whole food diet. So they’re no longer eating lots of fiber
and fresh fruits and vegetables. It is likely, therefore, that their continued
low prevalence of colon cancer — 50 times lower than ours — is related to their low intake
of animal protein and fat as I explored previously. But why would animal protein
and fat increase cancer risk? Well, as I noted in Bowel Wars,
if you eat egg whites, for example, some of the protein isn’t
digested, isn’t absorbed, and ends up in our colon,
where it undergoes a process called putrefaction. When animal protein putrefies in
the gut, it can lead to the production of the rotten egg gas, hydrogen
sulfide, which, over and above its objectionable odor, can produce
changes that increase cancer risk. Putrefying protein also
produces ammonia. Over a lifetime on a standard Western
diet, the bacteria in our colon may release the amount of ammonia
found in a thousand gallons of Windex. At concentrations found
day-to-day inside the colon on usual Western diets, ammonia
destroys cells, alters DNA synthesis, increases cellular proliferation,
may increases virus infection, favor the growth of cancerous
cells, and evidently increase virus infections a second time. And it’s the products of protein and
fat digestion that are to blame, such that you can double
ammonia concentrations in the colon by eating
a lot of meat. But put people on a plant-based
diet, and within just one week the enzyme activity that creates the
ammonia in the colon drops like a rock. Other bacterial enzymes
are affected as well. Remember how broccoli
family vegetables can boost detoxifying
enzymes in the liver? These so called phase 2 enzymes,
UDP-glucuronosyltransferases, they detoxify drugs and chemicals by
applying a chemical straightjacket, here shown in red, deactivating
the date rape drug GHB, or taking the carcinogens
in meat like benzopyrene and rendering them harmless
before dumping them back into the intestine for disposal. But if our liver detoxifies it,
why is benzopyrene in meat still associated with rectal cancer? Well, certain bacteria in our
gut contain the opposite enzyme, a ‘toxifying’ enzyme that
removes the straightjacket and frees the carcinogen to wreak a last bit of havoc before
it leaves the body. But within one week
of eating plant-based, we can drop that enzyme
activity in our colon by about 30%. But this was with a raw,
‘extreme’ vegan diet. What about a regular vegetarian diet? Compared to a pound-of-meat-a-day diet,
those placed on a meat-free diet for a month experienced a
70% drop in ‘toxifying’ activity, which may raise the amount of
carcinogens, within the colon. And long-time vegetarians exhibit just
a fraction of carcinogen-releasing activity compared to those on a
standard American diet. So this may all help explain the
increased risk in the United States. Researchers put it
to the test, though, by taking biopsies from
the lining of the colons of Americans versus Africans,
to measure proliferation rates, how fast the cells are dividing,
a marker for increased cancer risk, and decreased cancer survival. This is what they found. The black dots denote proliferating cells,
which we can see throughout the colons of Caucasian-Americans
and African-Americans, but only a few were seen
in the African biopsies. Dramatically lower proliferation rates. Overall, higher colorectal cancer risk was
associated with higher dietary intakes of animal products and
higher colonic populations of potentially toxic hydrogen and
secondary bile-salt-producing bacteria. And while they were
in there to get biopsies, they looked around a little bit, and out
of all the African colons they looked at, they only detected four
issues out of 18 colons. But out of the 17 African American
or Caucasian colons they found 21 problems each: polyps,
diverticulosis, lots of hemorrhoids. The remarkably pristine condition
of the colons of our African volunteers further supports our impression
that African colons were, in general, far healthier
than American colons.

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