Colon Health Watch

Published Online: Monday, March 19, 2012
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High-Fiber Diets and Diverticulosis

Although diets high in fiber were previously thought to lower a person’s risk of developing diverticulosis—the formation of pouches on the colon wall—individuals with the lowest fiber intake are actually less likely to develop the disease, according to the findings from a study published in the February 2012 issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

To examine the link between fiber intake and diverticulosis, researchers performed a cross-sectional study of 2104 participants between 30 and 80 years who had outpatient colonoscopies from 1998 to 2010. Researchers sought to determine whether factors such as a low-fiber diet, fat or red meat intake, constipation, or physical inactivity increased the prevalence of asymptomatic diverticulosis.

Investigators concluded that participants with the highest fiber intake had the highest prevalence of diverticulosis. They found that compared with those who had fewer than 7 bowel movements a week, individuals who had more than 15 bowel movements a week had a 70% greater risk of developing the condition. There was no statistically significant evidence suggesting that physical inactivity, fat, or red meat was associated with diverticulosis.

“Despite the significant morbidity and mortality of symptomatic diverticulosis, it looks like we may have been wrong, for decades, about why diverticula actually form,” said Anne Peery, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, the study’s lead author. “At this time, we cannot predict who will develop a complication, but if we can better understand why asymptomatic diverticula form, we can potentially reduce the population at risk for symptomatic disease.”

 

Yerba Mate Tea Reported to Cause Apoptosis in Colon Cancer Cells

An article published in the October 2011 issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research describes a potentially groundbreaking use of Yerba mate tea in the treatment of cancer, specifically cancer of the colon. The colon is a site of absorption and metabolism of caffeine-related compounds in the body.

Yerba mate tea, which is popular in South American countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, contains important caffeine derivatives called dicaffeoylquinic acids (diCQA), which decrease the markers for inflammation. Elvira de Mejia, PhD, associate professor of food chemistry and food toxicology at the University of Illinois, conducted an in vitro study to determine the anti-inflammatory and anticancer capabilities of the diCQAs in mate tea leaves.

Dr. de Mejia and colleague Sirima Puangpraphant isolated human colon cancer cells from a cell culture and treated them with diCQA derivatives from Yerba mate tea leaves. Results suggested that the diCQA derivatives inhibited cell proliferation in human colon cancer cells. As concentrations of these derivatives increased, cleavage of the cancer cells occurred, effectively causing programmed cell death.

“The caffeine derivatives in mate tea not only induced death in human colon cancer cells, they also reduced important markers of inflammation,” Dr. de Mejia said. “We believe there’s ample evidence to support drinking mate tea for its bioactive benefits, especially if you have reason to be concerned about colon cancer.” Dr. de Mejia also noted that their conclusions had important implications for the treatment of other diseases dealing with inflammation. 

 

Colon Cancer Alliance and Dulcolax® Encourage Americans to Be a Lifesaver and Get Screened for Colon Cancer 

Every year, colon cancer takes the lives of tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and friends, despite the fact that with an early screening, these deaths are highly preventable. This March during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) and makers of Dulcolax® are urging people to make an appointment with their doctor and schedule a colon cancer screening.

“While the idea of having a colonoscopy may not be appealing to everyone, a colonoscopy can be a lifesaver,” said Andrew Spiegel, chief executive officer of the Colon Cancer Alliance. “The impact of the consequences of not having one can be devastating to those most important to you. Whether you do it for yourself, or for the ones you love, talk to your doctor to schedule a colonoscopy today.”

Dulcolax® is continuing its partnership with the CCA for a second year in an effort to help increase awareness of colon cancer which, if found early enough, is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Another goal of the partnership is to encourage early screenings which can truly be lifesavers. A portion of proceeds from the purchase of Dulcolax® products supports CCA community screening programs. To learn more about colon cancer and the importance of getting screened, visit www.ccalliance.org/dulcolax and www.dulcolaxusa.com.



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