History of IP6

Dating back to the early 1960s, it was discovered that the black population of South Africa had a 90% lower risk of colon cancer than the white population. However this was only the case for the first generation of black city dwellers and not blacks that had lived in the cities for several generations. What was unique about this first generation living in the city? Researchers discovered that the new city inhabitants often continued to eat a traditional rural diet, which consisted primarily of corn or maize- approx 600 grams a day. Researchers reasoned that because corn is rich in fiber, that the fiber was preventing the colon cancer. This study provided “proof”, or so they thought about the benefit of fiber and helped to lay the foundation for the hypothesis that dietary fiber was the protector of the colon.

In the 1970s however there was conflicting research. The Finnish people consumed half as much fiber as the Danes, yet their colon cancer incidence was half that of the people of Denmark. Obviously there were flaws with the fiber protecting the colon hypothesis. Then in the 1980s researchers questioned whether it was the IP6 or phytate in the Finnish diet that was protecting them. The Finnish people were consuming a lot more breakfast cereals, which are high in IP6 and as a result the Finns were getting 20 to 30% more IP6 than the Danes, despite eating half as much fiber as the Danes.

When it comes to IP6 content there is a great deal of variance between fiber sources. Incidentally the IP6 percentage is very high in South African maize, as it is approx 6% by weight. South African blacks were in fact consuming over 40 grams of IP6 daily. Was it the fiber in the corn or the IP6 in the corn that was protecting them?

Dr. A.K. Shamsuddin, a Professor of pathology who specialized in colon cancer at the University of Maryland decided to investigate the Finnish paradox. Professor Shamsuddin, who is on the “Who’s Who” list of American Inventors for inventing a screening test for colon cancer, fed IP6 in varying doses to rats and then sped up their rate of cell division. The result was clearly dose dependant; the more IP6, the fewer the tumors. Because inositol and IP6 occur naturally in all of our cells, researchers reasoned that these nutrients would impact several areas of our health. For the last 2 decades scientists, many of whom are internationally recognized, have been uncovering the many benefits.