Eating yogurt twice a week could lower the risk of pre-cancerous bowel growths in men by 20%

Eating at least two servings of yogurt a week may help protect men from developing growths that lead to bowel cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers say that men who ate at least two pots of yogurt had a nearly 20 percent lowered risk of developing the growths, known as adenomas, than men who didn’t eat yogurt.

And men who ate yogurt had a 26 percent decreased risk of developing adenomas that were highly likely to become malignant.

The team, from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, says the findings support previous research that suggests consuming yogurt may lower bowel cancer risk by altering both the type and volume of bacteria in the gut.

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, has found that men who ate yogurt had a 26% lowered risk of developing adenomas likely to become cancerous (file image)

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, has found that men who ate yogurt had a 26% lowered risk of developing adenomas likely to become cancerous (file image)

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, has found that men who ate yogurt had a 26% lowered risk of developing adenomas likely to become cancerous (file image)

Adenomas, or adenomatous polyps, are abnormal growths that form in the lining of the colon or the rectum. 

They are precancerous, meaning that – if they are left untreated – they can become malignant. 

For the study, published in the journal Gut, the team looked at the diets and development of adenomas among more than 32,600 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and more than 55,700 women from the Nurses’ Health Study.

The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study investigated the risk factors for chronic diseases in men while the Nurses’ Health Study did the same for women.

All of the participants underwent lower bowel endoscopies between 1986 and 2012, and reported on their diets every four years, including how much yogurt they ate. 

Over the course of the 26-year study period, about 5,800 adenomas developed in the men and roughly 8,100 did in the women. 

Men who ate two or more servings of yogurt per week were 20 percent less likely to develop a conventional adenoma compared to men who didn’t eat yogurt.

Meanwhile, men who ate yogurt were also 26 percent less likely to develop adenomas that had a greater risk of becoming cancerous.

Researchers did not find any link between eating yogurt and adenoma development when it came to women.

The team stresses that the study is observational and that more research is needed to explain the mechanics behind this association.

However, they speculate that one explanation may be that two probiotics commonly found in yogurt – Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus – lower the amount of carcinogens the gut.

Alternatively, the researchers suggest yogurt may have anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces the ‘leakiness’ of the gut.

‘As male patients with adenoma present with increased gut permeability, yogurt may benefit more for men compared with women,’ the authors wrote. 

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