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Sex differences in colonic function: a randomised trial.
  1. J W Lampe,
  2. S B Fredstrom,
  3. J L Slavin,
  4. J D Potter
  1. Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul.


    There are sex differences in large bowel cancer rates and a variety of other gastrointestinal disorders possibly because of differences in gut biology. To determine whether men and women have different gastrointestinal responses when consuming identical intakes of dietary fibre, 16 women and 18 men consumed liquid formula diets and 'quick breads' with 0 g, and 10 g, and 30 g of fibre as wheat bran and vegetable fibre. The five test diets were consumed in random order, each treatment lasting 23 days. Mean transit time was faster (p = 0.02), and stool weights (g/day) were greater (p = 0.0005) for men than women. Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) excretion was greater in men (p = 0.01), and women tended to digest more NDF (p = 0.06). Men and women seemed to respond differently to wheat bran and vegetable fibre with regard to NDF excretion and digestibility. There were no gender differences in the faecal pH or moisture content. Concentrations and daily excretion of the secondary bile acids, lithocholic and deoxycholic acid, were greater for men than women (p < 0.05). Gender differences in bowel function and bile acid excretion, observed when men and women consumed the same amounts of dietary fibre, may be relevant for understanding colonic disease aetiology and for undertaking future dietary intervention trials.

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