Cathy O’Leary Medical Editor - The West Australian on July 6, 2016, 12:40 am
Emu oil could help to ward off bowel cancer, according to results from landmark WA research.
University of WA researcher Suzanne Mashtoub said the results suggested taking emu oil capsules could protect people with bowel diseases from developing tumours.
While it was premature to recommend people take emu oil to prevent or treat bowel cancer, the results were promising.
The National Health and Medical Research Council post-doctoral research fellow used a Cancer Council WA grant to study the effects of emu oil sourced from South Australia.
Professor Gordon Howarth from the University of Adelaide with UWA emu oil researcher Dr Suzanne Mashtoub.
Dr Mashtoub was prompted to do the animal study because of the anti-inflammatory effects from emu oil used on the skin.
“My aim was to investigate whether emu oil could reduce inflammation and repair damage in the bowel caused by ulcerative colitis, and monitor if we could prevent the development of bowel cancer,” she said.
The study found emu oil helped prevent weight loss, which could be useful for bowel cancer patients, and appeared to protect the intestine from inflammation.
Dr Mashtoub said while emu oil did not prevent tumours, those that developed were smaller.
Researchers will now focus on the most effective dosage and frequency of treatment.
Terry Slevin from Cancer Council WA said it was early research and people should not take emu oil believing it would stop them getting bowel cancer.