Resistant Starch

Last Updated: October 24, 2023

Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber that can be found naturally in foods (e.g., legumes, whole grains, potatoes, underripe bananas) or taken as a supplement. Resistant starch acts as a food source for microbes in the gut, which can stimulate the growth of potentially beneficial bacteria and lead to the production of short-chain fatty acids. While this might lead to positive effects both locally in the gut and for overall health, clinical trials tend to report inconsistent results and any benefits seem to be small in magnitude.

Resistant Starch is most often used for

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch (RS) is a type of starch that is not broken down by human digestive enzymes, and it is therefore considered a dietary fiber.[6] Starch occurs naturally in plants as a storage form of glucose. Upon consumption, some starch is quickly broken down into glucose molecules that can be absorbed into the bloodstream, but RS resists digestion and absorption in the small intestine and travels to the large intestine where it can act as a food source for microbes of the gut microbiota — particularly via bacterial fermentation.[7] Bacterial fermentation of RS in the large intestine leads to the production of compounds capable of influencing human health — most notably short-chain fatty acid (SCFAs), like butyrate.[8] While intriguing, the research on RS in humans has been mixed and inconsistent, and it’s not entirely clear how RS influences the gut microbiome or general health.

What are resistant starch’s main benefits?

RS could have beneficial effects on gut health in several ways. Research suggests that RS supplementation may increase fecal weight and levels of butyrate (a SCFA), and reduce fecal pH — features that could potentially promote the health of the colon.[8] However, these effects seem to vary depending on the type of RS used and on other factors that can influence the baseline microbiome (e.g., sex, dietary habits, health and weight status, geographical location).[9][10] RS may stimulate the growth of potentially beneficial bacteria in the gut, but again, these effects tend to vary greatly and no consistent pattern has emerged.[11]

Beyond the gut, RS supplementation might reduce fasting blood glucose levels,[1] improve insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR),[1] and reduce markers of inflammation (TNF-alpha, interleukin-6).[3][12] However, these effects are inconsistently found and tend to be small in magnitude, meaning they may not be particularly impactful.

What are resistant starch’s main drawbacks?

RS is generally considered safe and tends to be well-tolerated. Side effects are usually gastrointestinal in nature, including flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort (particularly at higher doses of RS).[13][8] These occur largely because of the gas produced during bacterial fermentation, and starting at a lower dose and increasing over time can help improve tolerance.

One major limitation of RS is how variable its effect can be between individuals. Many of the potential benefits of RS are due to its interactions with the gut microbiome, but the microbes in the gut can vary greatly between different people, which could lead to inconsistent and unpredictable effects. It is not yet clear who might benefit the most from RS supplementation.[13][9]

How does resistant starch work?

Most research suggests that RS works by acting as a source of fermentable fiber to feed microbes of the gut microbiome. When RS undergoes bacterial fermentation, it leads to the production of SCFAs like butyrate, propionate, and acetate.[3] These SCFAs are capable of influencing the health of our body in a multitude of ways, including the promotion of a healthy gut environment and assistance with regulation of appetite, inflammation, and metabolism.[14] The process of RS fermentation also encourages the growth of more bacteria capable of producing SCFAs,[15] which might explain why the effects of RS tend to be more pronounced when taken for longer durations.[1]

What are other names for Resistant Starch?
Note that Resistant Starch is also known as:
  • High-amylose starch
  • Potato starch
  • Banana starch
Dosage information

There is no established optimal dosing for RS, but commonly used dosages range from 15 to 40 grams daily, with some research suggesting doses of ≥25 grams for ≥8 weeks are more effective.[1][2]

Supplemental RS is usually taken in the form of a powder that can be mixed into foods or beverages, or added to cooking (although cooking may reduce the final RS content due to heat).[3] RS can also be attained through the diet by eating foods like legumes, whole grains (e.g., oatmeal, barley), potatoes, rice, underripe bananas and plantains, and whole-grain breads and pastas. In certain starchy foods (especially ones high in amylose and amylopectin, such as potatoes or rice), RS content can actually be increased by cooking and then cooling the food.[4][5]

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Update History
2023-10-24 00:30:03

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  1. ^Xiong K, Wang J, Kang T, Xu F, Ma AEffects of resistant starch on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Br J Nutr.(2021-Jun-14)
  2. ^Shirin Amini, Anahita Mansoori, Leila Maghsumi-NorouzabadThe effect of acute consumption of resistant starch on appetite in healthy adults; a systematic review and meta-analysis of the controlled clinical trialsClin Nutr ESPEN.(2021 Feb)
  3. ^Wei Y, Zhang X, Meng Y, Wang Q, Xu H, Chen LThe Effects of Resistant Starch on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.Nutr Cancer.(2022)
  4. ^Wang S, Copeland LMolecular disassembly of starch granules during gelatinization and its effect on starch digestibility: a review.Food Funct.(2013-Nov)
  5. ^Chang Q, Zheng B, Zhang Y, Zeng HA comprehensive review of the factors influencing the formation of retrograded starch.Int J Biol Macromol.(2021-Sep-01)
  6. ^Halajzadeh J, Milajerdi A, Reiner Ž, Amirani E, Kolahdooz F, Barekat M, Mirzaei H, Mirhashemi SM, Asemi ZEffects of resistant starch on glycemic control, serum lipoproteins and systemic inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.(2020)
  7. ^Lockyer S., Nugent A. P.Health effects of resistant starchNutr Bull.(2017 Jan)
  8. ^Shen D, Bai H, Li Z, Yu Y, Zhang H, Chen LPositive effects of resistant starch supplementation on bowel function in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Int J Food Sci Nutr.(2017-Mar)
  9. ^Dobranowski PA, Stintzi AResistant starch, microbiome, and precision modulation.Gut Microbes.(2021)
  10. ^McOrist AL, Miller RB, Bird AR, Keogh JB, Noakes M, Topping DL, Conlon MAFecal butyrate levels vary widely among individuals but are usually increased by a diet high in resistant starch.J Nutr.(2011-May)
  11. ^Chen R, Zhang C, Xu F, Yu L, Tian F, Chen W, Zhai QMeta-analysis reveals gut microbiome and functional pathway alterations in response to resistant starch.Food Funct.(2023-Jun-06)
  12. ^Lu J, Ma B, Qiu X, Sun Z, Xiong KEffects of resistant starch supplementation on oxidative stress and inflammation biomarkers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr.(2021-Dec)
  13. ^Wang Y, Chen J, Song YH, Zhao R, Xia L, Chen Y, Cui YP, Rao ZY, Zhou Y, Zhuang W, Wu XTEffects of the resistant starch on glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, and lipid parameters in overweight or obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Nutr Diabetes.(2019-Jun-05)
  14. ^Bojarczuk A., Skąpska S., Khaneghah A.M., Marszałek K.Health benefits of resistant starch: A review of the literatureJFF.(2022 May))
  15. ^Deehan EC, Yang C, Perez-Muñoz ME, Nguyen NK, Cheng CC, Triador L, Zhang Z, Bakal JA, Walter JPrecision Microbiome Modulation with Discrete Dietary Fiber Structures Directs Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production.Cell Host Microbe.(2020-Mar-11)
  16. ^Matthew Snelson, Jessica Jong, Deanna Manolas, Smonda Kok, Audrey Louise, Romi Stern, Nicole J KellowMetabolic Effects of Resistant Starch Type 2: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled TrialsNutrients.(2019 Aug 8)
  17. ^Mah E, Liska DJ, Goltz S, Chu YThe effect of extracted and isolated fibers on appetite and energy intake: A comprehensive review of human intervention studies.Appetite.(2023-Jan-01)
  18. ^Abed Ghavami, Rahele Ziaei, Sepide Talebi, Hanieh Barghchi, Elyas Nattagh-Eshtivani, Sajjad Moradi, Pegah Rahbarinejad, Hamed Mohammadi, Hatav Ghasemi-Tehrani, Wolfgang Marx, Gholamreza AskariSoluble Fiber Supplementation and Serum Lipid Profile: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled TrialsAdv Nutr.(2023 May)
  19. ^Snelson M, Kellow NJ, Coughlan MTModulation of the Gut Microbiota by Resistant Starch as a Treatment of Chronic Kidney Diseases: Evidence of Efficacy and Mechanistic Insights.Adv Nutr.(2019-Mar-01)
  20. ^Melamed ML, Plantinga L, Shafi T, Parekh R, Meyer TW, Hostetter TH, Coresh J, Powe NRRetained organic solutes, patient characteristics and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in hemodialysis: results from the retained organic solutes and clinical outcomes (ROSCO) investigators.BMC Nephrol.(2013-Jun-27)
  21. ^Du X, Wu J, Gao C, Tan Q, Xu YEffects of Resistant Starch on Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.J Diabetes Res.(2022)
  22. ^Ma Y, Hu M, Zhou L, Ling S, Li Y, Kong B, Huang PDietary fiber intake and risks of proximal and distal colon cancers: A meta-analysis.Medicine (Baltimore).(2018 Sep)
  23. ^Gianfredi V, Salvatori T, Villarini M, Moretti M, Nucci D, Realdon SIs dietary fibre truly protective against colon cancer? A systematic review and meta-analysis.Int J Food Sci Nutr.(2018-Dec)
  24. ^Jun S, Lee J, Kim JAssociation of Dietary Fiber Intake With Gastrointestinal Tract Cancer Among Korean Adults.JAMA Netw Open.(2023-Mar-01)
  25. ^Malcomson FC, Willis ND, Mathers JCIs resistant starch protective against colorectal cancer via modulation of the WNT signalling pathway?Proc Nutr Soc.(2015-Aug)
  26. ^Mathers JC, Movahedi M, Macrae F, Mecklin JP, Moeslein G, Olschwang S, Eccles D, Evans G, Maher ER, Bertario L, Bisgaard ML, Dunlop M, Ho JW, Hodgson S, Lindblom A, Lubinski J, Morrison PJ, Murday V, Ramesar R, Side L, Scott RJ, Thomas HJ, Vasen H, Gerdes AM, Barker G, Crawford G, Elliott F, Pylvanainen K, Wijnen J, Fodde R, Lynch H, Bishop DT, Burn J,Long-term effect of resistant starch on cancer risk in carriers of hereditary colorectal cancer: an analysis from the CAPP2 randomised controlled trial.Lancet Oncol.(2012-Dec)
  27. ^Burn J, Bishop DT, Chapman PD, Elliott F, Bertario L, Dunlop MG, Eccles D, Ellis A, Evans DG, Fodde R, Maher ER, Möslein G, Vasen HF, Coaker J, Phillips RK, Bülow S, Mathers JC,A randomized placebo-controlled prevention trial of aspirin and/or resistant starch in young people with familial adenomatous polyposis.Cancer Prev Res (Phila).(2011-May)
  28. ^Le Leu RK, Winter JM, Christophersen CT, Young GP, Humphreys KJ, Hu Y, Gratz SW, Miller RB, Topping DL, Bird AR, Conlon MAButyrylated starch intake can prevent red meat-induced O6-methyl-2-deoxyguanosine adducts in human rectal tissue: a randomised clinical trial.Br J Nutr.(2015-Jul)
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