According to new observational research, there is a link between a lower risk of precancerous growths (adenoma) in the bowel and yogurt consumptions patterns, in men at least.
The National Cancer Institute provided estimates that indicated there will be 1456000 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States in 2019, alone. The NCI also noted that 4.2% adults will receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis during their lifetime.
Despite the many factors that contribute to a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer, one of the most prominent ones is poor diet. Hence, following a healthy diet can make a huge difference.
Many institutes came together to collaborate for this study. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston is one the most prominent among them. The research team from these institutes found an association between a reduced risk of adenomas in men and high consumption of yogurt. The results of this study appeared in the BMJ.
"[Some researchers have] underscored the urgent need to identify new modifiable factors for colorectal adenomas, [and a] few studies reported that higher yogurt intake may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, potentially mediated by the gut microbiome."
"However, no study has yet evaluated the association between yogurt intake and precursors of [colorectal cancer]," the study authors explain in the introduction of their paper.
Although this was an observational study — meaning that it can only establish associations and does not speak of cause and effect relationships — its authors believe that the fact that they found this link in such a large cohort does indicate a potential for causality.
However, why might yogurt consumption help prevent the formation of abnormal growths in the bowel? The researchers have a few theories.
"Products of the two common probiotics used in yogurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, may reduce levels of carcinogens such as nitroreductase, fecal activated bacterial enzymes, and soluble fecal bile acids," they hypothesize.
In the future, the team aims to conduct further research into the possible mechanisms underlying the links between yogurt consumption and lower cancer risk.