Eating a rich omega 3 diet, which includes foods that contain essential fatty acids such as salmon, seems to lower the risk of aggressive forms of prostate cancer according to a study published in the April 2009 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
This was identified among men with a genetic predisposition to a more aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Those who ate one or more servings of fatty fish per week had a 63% reduce risk of being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer when compared to men who never ate this type of fish.
This isn’t the first study to show that men who ate this type diet had a reduced risk for the this most deadly forms of cancer.
Further clinical trials are needed to identify which particular foods high in omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
“There is a lot of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease and other diseases by targeting inflammation – and that may be what is going on here,” John S. Witte, PhD stated. He and fellow researchers from the University of California, San Francisco looked at 466 men with aggressive prostate cancer; and 478 men without the disease.
The research subjects completed questionnaires on the diet they maintained, and had a genetic analysis performed so that the team could identify variants of the Cox-2 gene, which increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.
What the study of the information uncovered was that the subjects who ate little or no fatty fish and also had the Cox-2 variant were 5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer that was advanced.
The research subjects who ate lots of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet had a lower risk of prostate cancer, even if they had the genetic variant Cox-2.
This amounted to eating a really small amount of fish, one or more servings of fatty fish each week.
“The increase in risk associated with having the Cox-2 variant was essentially reversed in men who ate fish one or more times a week,” says Witte.
In a 2007 study, omega-3 researcher Jorge Chavarro, PhD from Harvard Medical School and colleagues found a 41% reduction in risks of prostate cancer for men who ate more omega-3 rich food than those with lower intake.
The Harvard team also found that men who ate fatty fish before getting a prostate cancer diagnosis, and continued to do so afterward, were less likely to lose their lives to this disease.
Omega-3 has therefore been shown to be protective against the more aggressive prostate cancers.
However, even now, many questions remain.
No one is yes sure if the positive effect of the omega-3 in the fish works only on the aggressive form of cancer. Experts are starting to wonder if prostate cancer may be better divided into aggressive forms and more local, benign cancers to continue the research.
While more work is being done, possibly your best bet if prostate cancer is an issue, or even if it isn’t an issue at all, is to consider a diet rich in omega-3s, possibly even consider supplementation of omega-3, to help reduce the risks.
Some of the foods for a rich omega-3 diet (besides salmon) are halibut, sardines, shrimp, clams, catfish, cod, albacore, trout and herring as well foods like walnuts, oils like flaxseed and canola and delicious veggies like spinach.