Including yogurt in your diet may help to lower pre-cancerous bowel growth risk in men, suggests a new study. The findings revealed that eating two or more weekly servings of yogurt may help to lower the risk of developing the abnormal growths of tissues (adenomas) which precede the development of bowel cancer. The study was published in the journal Gut.
The observed associations were strongest for adenomas that are highly likely to become cancerous, and for those located in the colon rather than in the rectum, the findings indicate.
The study said that eating yogurt regularly may help change the type and volume of bacteria in the gut (microbiome). But it's not been clear whether yogurt intake might also be associated with a lower risk of pre-cancerous growths, known as adenomas.
The researchers therefore looked at the diets and subsequent development of different types of adenoma among 32,606 men who were part of the Health Professionals Follow Up Study and 55,743 women who were part of the Nurses Health Study.
For the study, the participants had a lower bowel endoscopy--a procedure that enables a clinician to view the inside of the gut--between 1986 and 2012.Every four years, they were asked to provide detailed information about their diet, which included information about their yogurt intake. During the study period, 5811 adenomas developed in the men and 8116 in the women.
Compared with men who didn't eat yogurt, those who ate two or more servings a week were 19 per cent less likely to develop a conventional adenoma. This lower risk was even greater (26%) for adenomas that were highly likely to become cancerous, and for those located in the colon rather than in the rectum.
Scientists said that no obvious association was seen for men with a potentially more dangerous type of adenoma (serrated), but a trend towards reduced risk was seen for those measuring 1 or more cm, which could prove to be a significant revelation.
The researchers postulated that Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, two bacteria commonly found in live yogurt, may lower the number of cancer-causing chemicals in the gut.
And the stronger link seen for adenomas growing in the colon may partly be due to the lower acidity (pH) in this part of the gut, making it a more hospitable environment for these bacteria. Alternatively, yogurt may have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the 'leakiness' of the gut as adenomas are associated with increased gut permeability, they suggest.
(with inputs IANS)
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