J Natl Cancer Inst. 1980 Feb; 64(2): 255-61.
Effect of diet and Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements on human fecal bacterial enzymes.
The effect of diet and Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements on fecal microflora enzyme activity was studied in humans. The bacterial enzymes that were investigated are known to catalyze reactions that may result in formation of proximal carcinogens. Compared to vegetarians, omnivores eating a "Western-type" diet had higher levels of beta-glucuronidase, nitroreductase, azoreductase, and steroid 7-alpha-dehydroxylase in their fecal microflora. Removal of red meat or addition of fiber in the form of bran or wheat germ to the diet of omnivores for 30 days had no effect on beta-glucuronidase, nitroreductase, or azoreductase activity. However, removal of red meat or addition of fiber reduced fecal steroid 7-alpha-dehydroxylase activity. The addition of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements to the diet of omnivores significantly decreased fecal bacterial beta-glucuronidase and nitroreductase activities. Thirty days after Lactobacillus supplements were curtailed, fecal enzyme levels returned to normal base-line activities. These findings suggested that the metabolic activity of the fecal microflora was influenced by diet and could be altered by Lactobacillus supplements and to a lesser extent by dietary fiber.