Fish Oil for Prostate: A Healthy Finding
Prostate cancer is a disease that is a cause of great worry to many men, fortunately there is some research showing that fish oil may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and may slow its growth.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers affecting them, although fortunately about two-thirds of cases are of a slow-growing form. This form grows so slowly that most men die of other causes, even if they have prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society says that:
In fact, autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other diseases also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In these studies, 70% to 90% of the men had cancer in their prostate by age 80, but in many cases neither they nor their doctors even knew they had it.
Only about one third of cases of prostate cancer of an aggressive form that spreads quickly to other parts of the body.
There are a variety of causes of this disease and research has shown a number of contributing factors. These include taking folic acid, drinking alcohol and dietary fats. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with higher risks of this disease.
Fish oil and prostate cancer
A number of studies have also shown that fish oil offers some protective benefits. A recent study published in the journal, Cancer Prevention Research, men on a low fat diet who also took fish oil supplements saw a slowdown in the growth of prostate cancer cells. The study found an effect after as little as 4 to 6 weeks on the diet. Dr William Aronson of the University of California at Los Angeles said that the study showed that fish oil slowed the rate at which cancer cells divide. He said that:
“The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression.
“The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances that the cancer will spread outside the prostate, where it is much harder to treat.”
An important element of the diet looked at in the study is that it improved the ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in the diet.
The low-fat diet consisted of 15 percent of calories from fat. Additionally, the men on this diet took five grams of fish oil per day in five capsules, three with breakfast and two with dinner, to provide fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the incidence of heart disease and fight inflammation, and inflammation has been associated with certain cancers.
“Preclinical studies suggest that lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression,” the study states. “We found this diet intervention resulted in a decrease in omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acid ratios in benign and malignant prostate tissue and a decrease in malignant cell proliferation.”
As positive as these findings are, the study was a very small one. More work needs to be done to prove this conclusively.
Also remember that if you are suffering from illness, only take steps to change your diet or take supplements including fish oil in consultation with your doctor.