Antioxidants may boost colon health by decreasing the formation of new polyps

December 10, 2009

Selenium-based antioxidant supplements may prevent the development of new colon polyps in people with a history of polyp formation, says a new study that included 411 people. All the participants had already undergone surgery to remove one or more colorectal adenomas.

Participants received either placebo or a antioxidant-rich supplement containing selenomethionene, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E. At the end of the study people in the antioxidant group experienced a 40 % reduction in the incidence of new polyps of the large bowel. Our study is the first intervention trial specifically designed to evaluate the efficacy of the selenium-based antioxidant compound on the risk of developing metachronous adenomas, said lead researcher Luigina Bonelli, MD, from Italy 's National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa . Our results indicated that individuals who consumed antioxidants had a 40 per cent reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel, said Bonelli. It is noteworthy that the benefit observed after the conclusion of the trial persisted through 13 years of follow up.

The supplement provided daily doses of 200 micrograms of selenomethionene, 30 milligrams of zinc, 6,000 IU of vitamin A, 180 milligrams of vitamin C, and 30 milligrams of vitamin E. The research findings are being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference in Houston .