A study from the Netherlands shows that severe restriction of food early in life may help prevent colon cancer later on.

The authors evaluated more than 120,000 men and women and found far less colon cancer in those who suffered through the horrible hunger winter of 1995 in the Netherlands, starvation during the World War II years of1940-1944, and their father's unemployment during the economic depression of 1932-1940. The vast majority of these people suffered severe starvation during these periods. Colon cancer appears to be caused by something that happens many years before it occurs. Bile is known to increase risk of colon cancer. People who eat the most food produced the most bile. During times of starvation, the liver produces vey little bile. It may be that food restriction early in life decrease colon cancer risk by decreasing bile production.

Cancer 2003;97:46-55. Energy restriction early in life and colon carcinoma risk. Results of the Netherlands Cohort Study after 7.3 years of follow-up. Miranda J. M. Dirx, Ph.D., Piet A. van den Brandt, Ph.D et al.

Checked 8/9/05

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