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Consumption of trans-fatty acid and its association with colorectal adenomas - Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, Aug 1 2008

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By LC Vinikoor, et al. • • September 10, 2008

[Note: adenomas are benign tumors (polyps) that develop from epithelial tissue, as in the lining of the colon. They have the potential to become cancerous. Trans-fatty acids are formed when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil (hydrogenation) to form a solid shortening, and commonly used in commercial baked, fried, and processed foods. They are known to raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.]

Trans-fatty acid consumption is known to have detrimental effects on cardiovascular health, but little is known about its role in digestive tract neoplasia.

To investigate the association between colorectal adenomas and trans-fatty acid consumption, the authors utilized data from a cross-sectional study of 622 individuals who underwent complete colonoscopy between 2001 and 2002 at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. Participants were interviewed about demographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors thought to be related to colorectal cancer.

Trans-Fatty acid consumption, energy adjusted by the residual method, was categorized into quartiles based on its distribution in controls.

Compared with participants in the lowest quartile of consumption, those in the highest quartile had an increased prevalence of colorectal adenomas, with an adjusted prevalence odds ratio of 1.86 (95% confidence interval: 1.04, 3.33). [An odds ratio of 1.0 would mean the odds of having andenomas were equal between the highest quartile and others. The OR of 1.86 means those in the highest quartile were 86% more likely to have adenomas.]

The authors further investigated the relation between trans-fatty acid consumption and colorectal neoplasia by examining the adenoma characteristics, with the adjusted prevalence odds ratios showing little or no difference by adenoma location, size, or number. These results suggest that consumption of high amounts of trans-fatty acid may increase the risk of colorectal neoplasia, and they provide additional support to recommendations to limit trans-fatty acid consumption.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, Aug 1 2008;168(3):289-97. PMID: 18587137 Vinikoor LC, Schroeder JC, Millikan RC, Satia JA, Martin CF, Ibrahim J, Galanko JA, Sandler RS. Department of Epidemiology, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. [E-mail: ]

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