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Antioxidants May Lower Barret's Esophagus Risk

A new study indicates that a high daily intake of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of Barrett's esophagus by more than 50 percent.

Barrett's esophagus, named after the surgeon who first described the condition, is caused by chronic acid reflux and usually afflicts individuals in their 40s and 50s.

Barrett's esophagus occurs when the normal lining of the lower esophagus is replaced by an abnormal lining consisting of gastric and intestinal cells. Barrett's esophagus is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California studied the eating habits of 913 people.

Results of the study, published online in May 2008 by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, showed that individuals with the highest intake of vitamins E and C and beta-carotene were associated with a reduced risk of Barrett's esophagus. Specifically, vitamin E was associated with a 75 percent reduction in risk, vitamin C a 52 percent reduction and beta-carotene a 44 percent reduction.

Nuts, seeds and seed oils are excellent sources of vitamin E. Guava, red peppers and oranges are excellent sources of vitamin C. Carrots, spinach and kale are excellent sources of beta carotene.

Source: American Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 103, Pages 1-10, doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.01838.x
"Dietary Antioxidants, Fruits, and Vegetables and the Risk of Barrett's Esophagus"
Authors: A. Kubo, T.R. Levin, G. Block, G.J. Rumore, C.P. Quesenberry, Jr, P. Buffler, D.A. Corley
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