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Carotenoid Intake Related to Risk of Colorectal Cancer

A study published in February 2013 indicates that intake of carotenoids contained in green-yellow fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

The investigators evaluated 893 Japanese subjects who underwent colorectal endoscopy and collected data regarding lifestyle factors and measured serum concentrations of six carotenoids.

The investigators found that among males, high serum zeaxanthin was associated with:

  • a 52 percent decrease in the risk of polyps
  • a 65 percent decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer,

In females, the data showed that high zeaxanthin was associated with:

  • a 75 percent decreased risk of cancer
  • high lutein and alpha-carotene correlated to a 70 percent decrease
  • high beta-carotene correlated to a 73 percent decrease in the likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.

Furthermore, the researchers determined that, in males:

  • increased ingestion of green-yellow vegetables is associated with a 56 percent decreased risk of polyps,
  • carrots and pumpkins are associated with a 54 percent decreased risk
  • fruits correlate with a 47 percent decrease in risk of polyps.

Among the female subjects:

  • increased ingestion of carrots and pumpkins is associated with a 70 percent decrease in risk of developing colorectal cancer,
  • increased legume intake correlated with an 86 percent decrease in risk
  • seaweed intake was associated with a 77 percent decrease in likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.

The study authors stated, “These results provide further support for the protective effects of carotenoids contained in green-yellow vegetables and fruits against colorectal [cancer] in Japanese.”

Reference:

Okuyama Y, et al. Int J Clin Oncol. 2013 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print.]

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