-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Eating at least three
servings of fish a week may reduce women's risk of developing some
types of colon polyps, according to a new study.
Colon polyps are small growths on the intestinal lining that may
develop into cancer. Previous research has suggested a link between
inflammation and formation of colon polyps.
Omega-3 fats in fish may reduce inflammation and help protect
against the development of colon polyps, according to the
researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville,
Their study of more than 5,300 people found that women who ate
at least three servings of fish a week were 33 percent less likely
to develop colon polyps, and also had lower levels of an
inflammation-related hormone called prostaglandin E2.
"That was the aspect of the study we were particularly excited about because prostaglandin E2 is known to be associated with adenomas or polyps in colorectal cancers," first author Dr. Harvey Murff, an associate professor of medicine, said in a Vanderbilt University Medical Center news release.
Fish oil appears to have the same beneficial effect as aspirin
in reducing inflammation, he said.
The researchers were surprised to find that eating fish reduced
the risk of colon polyps in women, but not in men.
"The difference between men and women may be linked to their background diet. Even though men are eating more omega-3 fatty acids they may also be eating more omega-6 fatty acids and that may be blunting the effect," Murff said. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in meats, grains and seed oils, including corn oil.
Types of fish with high levels of the protective omega-3 fatty
acids include tuna, salmon and sardines.
The study was published online in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
While the study found an association between fish and a lowered
chance of having polyps, it did not prove that a diet rich in fish
is responsible for the reduction. Other factors could play a
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons has more about
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