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Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Dec; 58(6): 917-22.

Bile acids and pH values in total feces and in fecal water from habitually omnivorous and vegetarian subjects.

van Faassen A, Hazen MJ, van den Brandt PA, van den Bogaard AE, Hermus RJ, Janknegt RA.

Department of Urology, State University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Twenty habitually omnivorous subjects and 19 habitually lactoovovegetarian subjects aged 59-65 y collected feces during 4 consecutive days. The concentrations of bile acids in total feces did not differ between the omnivores and vegetarians, but the bile acid concentrations in fecal water were significantly lower in the vegetarians. The concentration of the colorectal cancer-predicting bile acid deoxycholic acid in fecal water was explained by the intake of saturated fat and the daily fecal wet weight (r2 = 0.50). Fecal pH did not differ between the omnivores and vegetarians. This variable was significantly (P < 0.05) explained by the intake of calcium (r2 = 0.30); 24-h fecal wet weight and defecation frequency were significantly higher in the vegetarians. In conclusion, our vegetarian subjects had a lower concentration of deoxycholic acid in fecal water, higher fecal wet weight, and higher defecation frequency than the omnivorous subjects.

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