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Nutrient - Antioxidants benefit bowels

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT

A polyp is a benign (non-cancerous) growth of the lining of the bowel. It can be anything from 2mm up to 5cm or more in diameter. About 50% of people aged 60 will have at least one polyp and it is common for the condition to run in families. The type of cell that forms the polyp varies but some types have the potential to become cancerous, if left untreated. For this reason, polyps are normally removed soon after discovery, in a procedure called a polypectomy, but the reoccurrence rate is high.

Fortunately, a study presented at a recent American Association for Cancer Research Conference suggests that supplementation with antioxidants may help decrease the risk of developing new polyps in people who previously had them removed.

The study focused on a group of 411 participants, aged 25-75, who had already had one or more polyp removed. During the study, the researchers randomly assigned the participants to receive either a dummy pill or an antioxidant complex containing selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Each study group was then monitored to determine any incidences of polyp regrowth.

The results revealed that those who supplemented with the antioxidants had a 40% reduction in polyp reoccurrence, compared to those taking the dummy pills. Most interestingly of all, the scientists noticed that the positive outcomes observed during the trial persisted through 13 years of follow-up. The scientists are now doing further research to investigate the mechanism behind the antioxidant benefits. 

Article References

American Association for Cancer Research (2009, December 7).

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