A study by biomedical scientists at the University of Leicester has revealed for the first time that rice bran could reduce the risk of intestinal cancer.
The research in the University's Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine has not been tested on humans, but research in the laboratory has produced promising results.
The research has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.
The results of a controlled laboratory study in a preclinical model of gastrointestinal adenoma demonstrated that consumption of a high daily dose of stabilized rice bran caused an average 51% reduction in the number of precancerous adenomas in the intestinal tract.
Professor Andreas Gescher of the University of Leicester in the UK, the principal investigator, said:
"We compared the cancer-preventive efficacy of rice bran with respect to prostate, breast and intestinal cancers. Whilst there was no effect of rice bran on the development of prostate or breast cancer, rice bran significantly retarded the development of intestinal adenomas. The effect was dependent on the fibre content of the bran. The dose we used translates into approximately 200g rice bran per day in humans. We believe a promising area of future research would be to study the potential colorectal cancer-preventing properties of stabilized rice bran.
"It is known that bran from wheat and rye have anti-cancer properties but this is the first time that this has been shown for rice bran. It appears that rice bran may have a role to play in reducing the development of adenomas, which can be a pre-cursor to cancer. No one has compared the efficacy of the different brans, such as rice, wheat, rye or oat and this may be an interesting future direction for researchers."