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Yoghurt may help prevent bowel cancer

Wednesday June 19th, 2019

Men who eat yoghurt at least twice a week appear to have a reduced risk of developing adenomas in the bowel, researchers report today.

This finding comes from a team at Washington University School of Medicine, Washington DC, USA, led by Dr Yin Cao.

In a letter to Gut today (19 June) they state that several studies have suggested a higher yoghurt intake may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, perhaps via changes to the gut microbiome.

But the link between yoghurt intake and adenomas - precursors of colorectal cancer - has not previously been examined. The researchers looked at the link in studies of 32,606 men and 55,743 women. There were 5,811 cases of adenomas among the men and 8,116 adenomas among the women.

Men who ate two or more servings per week of yoghurt had a 19% lower rate of adenoma than those who ate no yoghurt. The rate of adenomas with high malignant potential was reduced even more, by 26%. These links were not observed for women.

The authors write: “We found that yoghurt intake may reduce risk of conventional adenoma, in particular those of high malignant potential, and independent of calcium and non-yoghurt dairy intake.

“A number of possible mechanisms have been postulated. Products of the two common probiotics used in yoghurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, may reduce levels of carcinogens. Yoghurt may also reduce adenoma risk by exerting anti-inflammatory effects on colon mucosa and ameliorating gut barrier dysfunction.”

They add that the benefit may be specific to men because “male patients with adenoma are more likely to present with increased gut permeability”.

Zheng, X. et al. Yogurt consumption and risk of conventional and serrated precursors of colorectal cancer. 19 June 2019 Gut doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318374

Tags: Cancer | Diet & Food | Men's Health | North America

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