Women who eat fish have lower colon polyp risk

February 9, 2012, Vanderbilt Medical Center

(Medical Xpress) -- Women who eat at least three servings of fish per week have a reduced risk of developing some types of colon polyps according to a new study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators.

The research, led by first author Harvey Murff, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Medicine, was published online in the .

The VICC researchers believe that omega-3 fats in may reduce in the body and help protect against the development of . Polyps are small growths on the lining of the that may develop into cancer.

Earlier research in animals has suggested a link between inflammation and colon polyp formation but studies in humans have not been conclusive.

is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.

More than 5,300 participants were enrolled in the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study and received colonoscopies at Vanderbilt or the Veterans’ Affairs Tennessee Valley Health System in Nashville. Study participants completed food frequency questionnaires to determine how often they ate fish and investigators obtained urine samples from some of the patients to measure biomarkers for a hormone related to inflammation.

Women who ate the equivalent of three servings of fish per week had about a 33 percent reduction in the risk for colon polyps. They also had a lower level of a hormone called prostaglandin E2 which is linked to inflammation.

“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,” said Murff.

Murff said fish oil appears to have the same beneficial effect as aspirin in reducing inflammation and this may protect against the formation of polyps.

“Women who ate more fish had lower numbers of polyps and they had lower levels of prostaglandin E2 which reassured us that these results may be real findings and not just a statistical fluke,” Murff explained.

While women who ate the most fish saw some protective effect, men who ate more fish did not have a reduced risk of developing colon polyps.

The VICC investigators were surprised by this difference.

“The difference between men and women may be linked to their background diet. Even though men are eating more omega-3 they may also be eating more omega-6 fatty acids and that may be blunting the effect,” said Murff.

Omega-6 fatty acids which are found in meats, grains and seed oils, including corn, safflower and sunflower oil, may counteract the protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids.

While eating more fish appeared to be beneficial, not all types of fish contain high levels of the protective omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna, salmon and sardines are high in omega-3 acids, while tilapia and catfish have low levels.

To validate the findings from their study, the authors are currently conducting a clinical trial to determine the effect of fish oil supplementation and prostaglandin E2 production.

The National Cancer Institute funded the study through a series of research grants.

Explore further: Young women may reduce heart disease risk eating fish with omega 3 fatty acids

More information: www.ajcn.org/

Related Stories

Young women may reduce heart disease risk eating fish with omega 3 fatty acids

December 5, 2011
Young women may reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease simply by eating more fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

High percentage of omega-3s in the blood may boost risk of aggressive prostate cancer

April 25, 2011
The largest study ever to examine the association of dietary fats and prostate cancer risk has found what's good for the heart may not be good for the prostate.

Researchers find that fish oil boosts responses to breast cancer drug tamoxifen

April 6, 2011
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with more than 200,000 women diagnosed each year. Being exposed to estrogen over a long period of time is one factor that can increase a woman's risk of developing ...

Study finds red meat may increase colon polyp risk

October 3, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer investigators from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Tennessee Valley Health System in Nashville) have found that eating a steady diet of red or processed ...

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.