Whole Grain Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Liver Cancer, Harvard Researchers Find | New

Researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health have found an association between high consumption of whole grains and fiber and a lower risk of liver cancer and death from chronic liver disease, according to a study published in Nature Communications November 4.

The researchers used a sample of nearly 500,000 participants surveyed by the National Institutes of Health between 1995 and 1996. After a median of 15.5 years, 940 participants had been diagnosed with primary liver cancer and 993 had died of primary liver cancer. chronic liver disease. sickness.

The researchers observed a 22% decrease in liver cancer risk and a 56% decrease in chronic liver disease mortality in participants who consumed whole grains in the highest quintile. Likewise, they observed a 31% decrease in liver cancer risk and a 63% decrease in chronic liver disease mortality in participants who had fiber intake in the highest quintile.

Xuehong “Hong” Zhang – a cancer epidemiologist and assistant professor of nutrition at the School of Public Health who worked on the study – said it was a “prospective cohort study based on the study. NIH-AARP ”.

“We are using the validated Food Frequency Questionnaire to measure whole grain and fiber consumption,” Zhang said. “We took into account the main known risk factors for liver cancer in the analysis, which suggests that the results we are seeing here for whole grains and fiber are likely independent of these known risk factors.”

Jessica Petrick – another study author and epidemiologist at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center – said the study “supports current dietary recommendations for cancer prevention.”

Although scientists do not yet understand all of the biological mechanisms underlying the association between diet and liver disease, the study is a step towards understanding “a little more of the dietary etiology of the disease. liver cancer, which is quite poorly recorded, ”said Petrick.

“The incidence of liver cancer in the United States is quite rare compared to more common types of cancer,” she said.

The study also has implications for future research on diet and liver disease, such as its intersections with race and ethnicity.

According to Zhang, most of the participants in this study were non-Hispanic whites.

“It is desirable to study the relationship between diet and liver cancer or mortality from liver disease in more diverse racial or ethnic populations, especially since liver cancer disproportionately affects minority populations. “, did he declare. “To my knowledge, studies in this area are relatively limited. More surveys of these populations are needed in the future. “

Despite the results, Petrick said the public should be careful about adjusting diets.

“I would make sure to recommend that they talk to their doctor or dietitian before making any changes to their diet on their own. Because this is epidemiological literature, it is very broad, ”said Petrick. “Each person has their own individualized risk profile, and this should really be taken into account any time they make a change in their diet.”


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