Dietary intake of vegetables, folate, and antioxidants and the risk of Barrett's esophagus

Cancer Causes Control. 2013 May;24(5):1005-14. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0175-3. Epub 2013 Feb 19.


Purpose: Diet is a potentially modifiable risk factor for Barrett's esophagus (BE). We investigated the associations between intakes of fruits and vegetables and risk of BE.

Methods: We identified study subjects from 1,859 participants who underwent the endoscopy in a single VA Medical Center in the US between 2008 and 2011. Dietary intake in the previous year was elicited using a self-administered Block food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Logistic regression model was used to estimate odds ratio (OR) and its 95 % confidence interval (CI) for BE.

Results: A total of 151 cases with definite BE and 777 controls completed the FFQ. When highest tertile of intake was compared with the lowest, the OR (95 % CI) was 0.46 (0.26-0.81) for dark green vegetables, 0.52 (0.30-0.90) for legumes, 0.50 (0.28-0.90) for total fiber, 0.45 (0.25-0.81) for isoflavones, 0.52 (0.30-0.67) for total folate, and 0.45 (0.26-0.79) for lutein, adjusting for multiple confounding factors including use of aspirin or proton pump inhibitor, gastro-esophageal reflux symptoms, and physical activity. The association for dark green vegetables was attenuated after adjustment for lutein, total fiber, and total folate (OR = 0.82; 95 % CI 0.30-2.22).

Conclusion: Higher intake of dark green vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of BE in a veteran population. Such an inverse association may be partially mediated by lutein, fiber, and folate. The novel findings on the association between intake of lutein, total folate, or isoflavones and risk of BE need further confirmation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables*


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Folic Acid