Choline May Promote Colon Polyps
Study: Women With a Diet Rich in Choline May Be More Likely to Develop Colon Polyps
Aug. 7, 2007 -- Preliminary new research shows that women who consume lots
of choline may be more likely to develop colon polyps than other women.
Colon polyps are abnormal growths in the colon which may (or may not)
develop into colon cancer.
Choline is a nutrient found in foods including red meat, eggs, poultry,
organ meats, and wheat germ, note Eunyoung Cho, ScD, and colleagues.
Cho works in Boston, at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's
Hospital. With seven other researchers, Cho investigated ties between choline
and colon polyps.
Cho's team studied data from more than 39,000 female U.S. nurses enrolled in
the Nurses' Health Study, a long-term study of women's health.
The women signed up for the study in 1976. At the time, they were 30-55
years old. Every two years, they completed dietary questionnaires and updated
their medical records.
All of the nurses studied by Cho and colleagues had a colonoscopy or
sigmoidoscopy between 1984 and 2002.
In colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, doctors guide a thin tube with a tiny
camera through the rectum and colon to look for cancer and polyps. Colonoscopy
involves the entire colon; sigmoidoscopy partially covers the colon.
Choline and Colon Polyps
The women's most common dietary sources of choline were red meat, eggs,
poultry, and milk.
Compared with women with the lowest choline intake, those with the highest
choline intake were 45% more likely to have a colon polyp. The findings weren't
tied to any particular food, the study shows.
But that doesn't mean that choline caused those polyps -- or that avoiding
choline prevents polyps. Observational studies such as this one don't prove
cause and effect.
This is the first study to look for links between choline intake and colon
polyps. Cho's team calls for further studies to check the findings.
An editorial, published with the study in the Journal of the National
Cancer Institute, agrees.
"More research, and caution in developing public health policy and
guidance, is warranted," write the editorialists, who included Regina
Ziegler, PhD, MPH, of the epidemiology and biostatistics program in the
National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics.
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