Omega-3 Reduces Polyps Risk

April 29/Nutrition Action Healthletter -- An omega-3 fat found in fish oil reduces the risk of precancerous intestinal polyps in people who have a genetic predisposition to get polyps and colon cancer.

Researchers randomly assigned 55 people with familial adenomatous polyposis to take either 2g a day of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) or a placebo for six months.

The patients all had their colons removed years earlier, so the study looked at rectal polyps. The EPA was formulated as a free fatty acid so it would be absorbed quickly in the small intestine.

After six months, the patients who took EPA had 22% fewer polyps than the placebo takers, and the polyps they had were 30% smaller, according to Nicholas J. West, MBBS, of St. Mark's Hospital in London, and colleagues.

The report is found in Gut, "Eicosapentaenoic Acid Reduces Rectal Polyp Number and Size in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis," Gut 2010; DOI: 10.1136/gut.2009.200642

From the May 10, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition