High-fat diets alter gut bacteria, boosting colorectal cancer risk in mice

The inner folds of the intestines (purple) are different in healthy mice (left) compared to mice fed a high-fat diet (right). Salk researchers identified changes in bacteria and bile acids that drive these changes.
The inner folds of the intestines (purple) are different in healthy mice (left) compared to mice fed a high-fat diet (right). Salk researchers identified changes in bacteria and bile acids that drive these changes.
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Credit: Salk Institute

LA JOLLA—The prevalence of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 has risen in recent decades. One suspected reason: the increasing rate of obesity and high-fat diets. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute and UC San Diego have discovered how high-fat diets can change gut bacteria and alter digestive molecules called bile acids that are modified by those bacteria, predisposing mice to colorectal cancer.


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