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Adv Prev Med. 2011;2011:874048. doi: 10.4061/2011/874048. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Lowering the Risk of Rectal Cancer among Habitual Beer Drinkers by Dietary Means.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, 41 Power Street, Toorak, VIC 3142, Australia.


Whole-life beer consumption and a quantitative measurement of several dietary micronutrients consumed in adult life were obtained from the dietary and alcohol data of the case-control arm of the population-based Melbourne Colorectal Cancer Study. There was a statistically significant risk, adjusted for other established risk factors, among habitual beer drinkers (AOR 1.75, 95% CI 1.28-2.41) with a significant positive dose-response effect (AOR trend 1.34, 95% CI 1.16-1.55). Among beer consumers the data were interpreted as showing an attenuation of this risk with consumption of the four micronutrients involved in methylation: folate, methionine, vitamins B6 and B12, and the four micronutrients examined with antioxidant properties: selenium, vitamins E, C, and lycopene. The strongest effects were noted with vitamins E, C, and lycopene, and the weakest with methionine and selenium. Whilst not condoning excessive beer drinking, the regular consumption of foods rich in these micronutrients may provide a simple and harmless preventative strategy among persistent habitual beer drinkers and deserves further study with larger study numbers.

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