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27 June 2007
More Evidence For Omega-3 Slowing Prostate Cancer
by George Atkinson

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and certain types of fish may be particularly beneficial for men who are genetically more likely to develop prostate cancer, say researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The findings build on previous population studies that showed similar results.

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, involved mice that were genetically engineered to develop prostate cancer. Feeding the mice a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from birth, the researchers observed reduced tumor growth and increased survival rates in the mice.

"This study clearly shows that diet can tip the balance toward a good or a bad outcome," said senior Wake Forest researcher Yong Q. Chen. "It's possible that a change in diet could mean the difference between dying from the disease and surviving with it."

Health experts recommend that people consume equal proportions of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, in American diets, the proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 is between 30 and 50 to one.

Chen noted that dietary changes may be particularly beneficial in men genetically prone to prostate cancer because the disease is usually diagnosed in older men and the tumors are slow-growing. It's possible that eating a high omega-3 diet could delay tumor development or progression long enough for the man to live out his natural lifespan with prostate cancer.

"If you have a gene that makes you susceptible to prostate cancer, your diet can tip the balance. Our data demonstrate the importance of gene-diet interactions," Chen said. He added that the effects were obtained with the omega-3s found in fish oil and that omega-3s from flaxseed oil and other plants may not provide the same results.

Related articles:
Omega-3 Puts Brakes On Prostate Cancer
Weight Gain Can Turbocharge Prostate Cancer

Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

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