May 19, 2010
By S. L. Baker
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that brings untold pain and misery to about 120,000 people of all ages in the UK and over a million in the US. It produces inflammation and sores in the lining of the rectum and colon that bleed, produce pus and cause frequent diarrhea. This is a serious disease that often causes hospitalization. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 25 to 40 percent of people suffering from ulcerative colitis eventually have their colons removed because of massive bleeding, severe illness, rupture of the colon, or risk of cancer.
Powerful side effect-laden drugs like steroids are used to dampen down symptoms but there’s no cure. However, scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have discovered there could be a way to stop ulcerative colitis from developing in the first place. The preventative treatment is simple, healthy, inexpensive and easy to find — olive oil.
UEA researchers announced this news recently at the Digestive Disease Week conference held in New Orleans. Their findings revealed that people with a diet rich in oleic acid are far less likely to develop ulcerative colitis. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found in abundance in olive oil. It is also a component of peanut oil, grapeseed oil and butter.
The research team, led by Dr. Andrew Hart of UEA’s School of Medicine, studied over 25,000 people between the ages of 40 and 65 who lived in Norfolk, in the UK. The research participants were part of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Diet and Cancer) study between 1993 and 1997. None of these EPIC participants were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the beginning of the study. They all kept detailed food diaries which were later studied by nutritionists who analyzed exactly what nutrients and fatty acids the study participants were consuming.
By 2004, 22 of the research subjects had developed ulcerative colitis. When the researchers compared the diets of these people to those who did not develop the disease, they found the study participants with the highest intake of oleic acid had a 90 per cent lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
“Oleic acid seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis by blocking chemicals in the bowel that aggravate the inflammation found in this illness,” Dr. Hart said in a statement to the media.”We estimate that around half of the cases of ulcerative colitis could be prevented if larger amounts of oleic acid were consumed. Two-to-three tablespoons of olive oil per day would have a protective effect.”
Additional studies are underway in several countries to further document the potential of oleic acid to prevent colitis, the UEA researchers stated. In addition, they noted that oleic acid should also be assessed in the future as a possible treatment for those already suffering from the disease.
January 25, 2010
By S.L. Baker
When scientists gathered in Houston recently for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, they heard groundbreaking evidence about how colon cancer can be prevented. The new data wasn’t about drugs or surgery, either. Instead, two separate research groups concluded natural substances appear to protect from often deadly colon malignancies.
Colon cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates is diagnosed in over 108,000 Americans each year, is intricately linked to adenomas, also called polyps. These lesions grow in the large bowel and start off as benign. However, they can turn into cancerous tumors and 70 to 80% of all cancers of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine) and rectum result from adenomas-turned-malignant.
So, in hopes of preventing future cancerous growths, polyps found during colonoscopies are snipped off and biopsied. Unfortunately though, pre-cancerous polyps often return. But scientists at the National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa, Italy, conducted a long term study that shows the risk of pre-cancerous polyps (dubbed colorectal metachronous adenomas) coming back after they’ve been removed can be greatly reduced. The key? Taking specific antioxidants, including a selenium-based compound.
“Our study is the first intervention trial specifically designed to evaluate the efficacy of the selenium-based antioxidant compound on the risk of developing metachronous adenomas,” said Luigina Bonelli, M.D., head of the unit of secondary prevention and screening at the National Institute for Cancer Research, in a statement to the media.
40% reduced risk
The research team studied volunteers between the ages of 25 and 75 who had already had one or more colorectal adenomas removed. None of the participants were diagnosed with any additional colorectal disease, cancer or other life-threatening illness and none were taking vitamins or mineral supplements when the study began. The scientists randomly divided the 411 participants into two groups: those in one group received an inactive placebo and those in the second group took a daily antioxidant supplement containing a selenium compound (selenomethionnine 200 ug), zinc 30 mg, vitamin A 6,000 IU, vitamin C 180 mg and vitamin E 30 mg.
“Our results indicated that individuals who consumed antioxidants had a 40% reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel,” Bonelli said. “It is noteworthy that the benefit observed after the conclusion of the trial persisted through 13 years of follow up.”
Omega-3s help prevent colorectal cancer
Another study just released at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference — this one from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina — found that omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in cold water fish such as salmon, may be able to prevent colorectal cancer.
The scientists recruited 1,509 Caucasian participants (716 cancer cases and 787 controls) and 369 African-American participants (213 cancer cases and 156 controls). A validated food questionnaire was used to collect information on the frequency and amount of foods typically consumed by the research subjects in the past 12 months. Those who ate more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a significantly reduced risk of large bowel cancer. In fact, the highest intake was linked to an almost 40% decreased cancer risk. Unfortunately, the greatly reduced risk was only seen in white research subjects and the scientists are trying to figure out what might account for the racial disparity.
“Experimental data have shown benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in colorectal carcinogenesis, ranging from reduced tumor growth, suppression of angiogenesis and inhibition of metastasis,” research leader Sangmi Kim, Ph.D., said in a statement to the press. “Our finding of inverse association between dietary intakes of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and distal large bowel cancer in white participants adds additional support to the hypothesis.”
These new studies linking natural substances to colon cancer prevention are part of a growing body of evidence indicating dietary measures can fight this kind of cancer successfully. For example, as NaturalNews has previously reported, the disease is primarily linked to the typical Western diet so avoiding processed food and trans fats can go far to prevent it. What’s more, blueberries have been shown to slash the risk of colon cancer by 57% and apples contain natural phytochemicals that have a protective effect against colon cancer too.