July 09, 2012
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Vegetable consumption may reduce risk for acute pancreatitis

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Individuals who consumed more servings of vegetables per day were less prone to acute pancreatitis unrelated to gallstones than those consuming fewer servings in a recent population-based cohort study.

Researchers evaluated results from 80,019 questionnaires administered throughout Sweden regarding participants’ consumption of specific foods, with subsequent follow-up regarding occurrences of acute pancreatitis not related to gallstones. Questionnaires also included information on demographics, tobacco and alcohol use and diabetes history, among other factors. Quintiles were formed according to the number of fruit and vegetable servings consumed daily.

During a mean of 11.1 years of follow-up, 320 cases (67.5% men) of acute pancreatitis occurred within the cohort. According to the questionnaires, participants consumed mean daily servings of 2.6 ± 1.8 vegetables and 1.7 ± 1.3 fruits. Investigators found a significant inverse association between the risk for non-gallstone-related pancreatitis and vegetable consumption, with a dose-dependent reduction of 17% for every two additional daily servings (RR=0.83; 95% CI, 0.70-0.98). A 44% reduction in pancreatitis risk was found for the highest (>3.7 servings/day) quintile for vegetable consumption compared with the lowest (<1.3 servings/day) (RR=0.56; 95% CI, 0.37-0.84).

The risk reduction from increased vegetable consumption (>3.7 servings/day) was more substantial among participants who drank more than one alcoholic beverage per day (RR=0.29; 95% CI, 0.13-0.67) and had a BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2 (RR=0.49; 95% CI, 0.29-0.85).

No significant association was found between pancreatitis risk and fruit consumption. The RR for pancreatitis comparing the highest and lowest fruit consumption quintiles was 1.20 (95% CI, 0.81-1.78).

“Results from this prospective cohort of men and women show that a high vegetable consumption may reduce the risk of non-gallstone-related acute pancreatitis,” the researchers concluded. “The inverse association seems to be stronger among participants consuming [more than] one drink of alcohol per day and among overweight participants. Our findings, if confirmed by other studies, indicate a potential benefit of increasing the consumption of vegetables for the prevention of non-gallstone-related acute pancreatitis.”