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Yogurt intake lowers risk of proximal colon cancer

31 Dec 2020

People who eat yogurt appear to have a reduced risk of proximal colon cancer with a long latency period, a study has found. However, no significant benefit is seen for colorectal cancer (CRC) mortality.

“Regular yogurt consumption may contribute to a favourable gut microbiome and gut health, but few epidemiologic studies have considered the relation between regular yogurt consumption and the incidence of and mortality from CRC,” the authors said.

To address this research gap, they examined the role of yogurt intake on CRC incidence and mortality using data from two large, prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

A total of 2,666 newly diagnosed cases of CRC have been documented during 32 years of follow-up in 83,054 women (mean age at baseline, 45.7 years) and 26 years of follow-up in 43,269 men (mean age at baseline, 52.3 years). Yogurt consumption was modeled at baseline and cumulatively updated throughout follow-up.

Age-adjusted analyses revealed the association of baseline yogurt consumption with a decreased risk of colon cancer (ptrend<0.01). Such association persisted even after adjusting for potential confounders, including calcium and fibre intake (ptrend=0.03), and were restricted to proximal colon cancer.

Compared with no yogurt intake, the consumption of at least one serving per week at baseline correlated with a 16-percent reduction in proximal colon cancer incidence (multivariable hazard ratio, 0.84, 95 percent confidence interval, 0.70–0.99; ptrend=0.04).

In latency analyses, the most important window of opportunity for regular yogurt consumption to prevent CRC was 16–20 years in the past. When yogurt intake was cumulatively updated, associations decreased and were no longer significant.

Notably, no statistically significant inverse association was observed between yogurt consumption and CRC mortality.

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Pearl Toh, 08 Jan 2021
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