“We know it depends on bacteria, and we know it depends on carbs,” says Alberto Martin, an associate immunology professor at the University of Toronto and one of the authors of the study. “This is the part of the study that’s still not solid, but we think that butyrate is somehow fueling the hyperproliferation of colon epithelial cells.” Other metabolites of carbohydrates might also be involved, he says. “It would be naïve to think it’s only butyrate.”
The phyla of bacteria inhabiting mouse guts resembles that in human intestines, which suggests the findings could be relevant for human health. And that suggests that you could protect yourself from colon cancer by taking the same potent cocktail of targeted antibiotics, including ampicillin, metronidazole, neomycin, and vancomycin, that were fed to the mice.