Altmed Watch

January 1, 2004



 

ALTMED WATCH
The latest research on complementary and alternative medicine

Jump to:Choose article section...Study suggests diet may affect outcome In ovarian cancer Vitamin D can help protect against advanced colon cancer 'Super tea' may help protect the heart

Study suggests diet may affect outcome In ovarian cancer

A high intake of vegetables—particularly cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower—and vitamin E-rich foods may reduce the risk of dying from invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, according to a case–control study involving 609 patients. The study is believed to be the first of its kind in ovarian cancer patients, and the researchers say the results should be considered only suggestive.

Participants who were diagnosed with the disease filled out a survey on their intake of 119 foods during the year before their symptoms appeared. They were then followed up for 5 years, by which time 61% had died from ovarian cancer. After adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found a significant difference in survival rate for women grouped in the highest third of vegetable intake (>5.56 servings/day) versus those in the lowest third (<3.9 servings/day). Higher intake of dietary vitamin E (>12.4 mg) also had a positive influence on survival, compared with low intake (<7.2 mg).

Nagle CM, Purdie DM, Webb PM, et al. Dietary influences on survival after ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. 2003;106:264-269

Vitamin D can help protect against advanced colon cancer

In a large prospective study, vitamin D emerged as an important dietary factor that may significantly reduce the risk of developing advanced colorectal neoplasia.

The study involved 3,121 mostly male asymptomatic patients, ages 50 to 75, who underwent a complete colonoscopy. Of these, 329 were found to have advanced neoplasia, and their risk factors were compared with 1,441 who had no polyps. Factors that significantly increased the risk of advanced disease were family history (first-degree relative with colorectal cancer), current smoking, and moderate-to-heavy alcohol use.

Factors that significantly reduced the risk were vitamin D intake of more than 645 IU/day, cereal fiber intake of more than 4.2 g/day, and daily use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The researchers suggest that, in addition to modifying other risk factors, consuming vitamin D plus a calcium supplement or regular dairy product is a "low-risk strategy that may benefit patients."

Lieberman DA, Prindiville S, Weiss DG, et al. Risk factors for advanced colonic neoplasia and hyperplastic polyps in asymptomatic individuals. JAMA. 2003;290:2959-2967.

'Super tea' may help protect the heart

With several epidemiologic studies suggesting that green and black tea may protect against cardiovascular disease, clinicians have been eager to find out if interventional trials will confirm these suspicions. Although some controlled trials of green tea and green tea extract have been unable to support this link, a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study that combined green tea extract with theaflavins—biologically active flavonoids derived from black tea—has shown that these "super-tea" supplements do in fact improve lipid profiles.

The supplements, taken over 12 weeks in conjunction with a low-fat diet by 240 men and women, contained 75 mg of theaflavins, 150 mg of green tea catechins, and 150 mg of other tea polyphenols. They were able to lower LDL cholesterol by 16.4% and raise HDL levels by 2.3%, without producing any significant side effects.

Animal experiments suggest that theaflavin-enriched green tea extract improves lipid levels by inhibiting cholesterol absorption from the gut, increasing fecal excretion of fat and cholesterol, reducing hepatic cholesterol levels, and stimulating LDL receptor activity in the liver.

Maron DJ, Lu GP, Cai NS, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effect of a theaflavin-enriched green tea extract. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:1448-1453.

Department editor Paul L. Cerrato, MA, Managing Editor of Contemporary OB/GYN, is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, N.Y.

 

Altmed Watch. Contemporary Ob/Gyn Jan. 1, 2004;49:85.