Preventing Prostate Cancer with Fish Oil
Fish oil is once again proving that it is highly effective in treating and preventing a wide range of conditions – from improving skin, hair and nail health even to preventing prostate cancer.
Recent research has proven that a higher dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish may protect men from prostate cancer – even if they have a strong genetic predisposition to the disease. This is an amazing result that simply shows why we should all be taking a fish oil supplement daily.
In a study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, lead researcher John S. Witte and colleagues compared the diets and genetic profiles of 466 men suffering from aggressive prostate cancer with profiles of 478 healthy men of similar age and ethnic background.
The average age of each participant was 65, and cancer patients were recruited an average of 4.7 months following diagnosis. The healthy controls were recruited from men undergoing standard annual health checkups.
The research focussed only on aggressive tumours, as these represent the most dangerous form of prostate cancer. The participants filled out food frequency questionnaires, classifying their intake of various kinds of fish as 'never', 'one to three times per month' or 'one or more times per week.' All men were screened for the nine different mutations of the cox-2 gene.
The variables were then analyzed for their relationship with prostate cancer, adjusting for other risk factors like smoking, obesity, family cancer history and prior prostate checks.
The researchers found that men with cancer had a much higher intake of calories, fat and linoleic acid (an omega-6) than healthy men. They also had a significantly lower intake of omega-3s, shellfish and dark fish.
The men who ate dark fish one to three times a month had a 36 percent lower chance of developing an aggressive prostate cancer than those who ate it rarely or never, while those who ate these fish once a week or more had a phenominal 63% lower risk.
“We detected strong protective associations between increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and more advanced prostate cancer,” said John Witte. “These fatty acids are primarily from dark fish such as salmon.” “And the decrease in risk may be even more pronounced if one has a high-risk genetic variant.”
The researchers found that the men with a particular cox-2 gene variant, rs4647310, had 5.5-times the risk of aggressive prostate cancer as men without that variant. This elevated risk was not seen, however, among men with a high omega-3 intake.
“The strongest effect was seen from eating 'dark' fish like salmon one or more times per week,” Witte said. “Men with low intake of dark fish and the high-risk variant had a substantially increased risk of more advanced prostate cancer,” Witte said.
The cox-2 gene is well known to play a major role in prostate inflammation, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.
“Previous research has shown protection against prostate cancer (by omega-3s),” Witte said, “but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with cox-2.”
According to statistics we gathered from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia;
- Each year, close to 3000 men die of prostate cancer in Australia – equal to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually.
- Around 18.700 men are diagnosed every year.
- One man every 3 hours dies from prostate cancer.
- One in 9 Australian men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in Australian men and the second most common cause of cancer death in men.
Pretty scary statistics. Like a lot of things in life, sometimes it's just luck of the draw.
But as this research shows, you can be proactive about preventing this devastating disease. And it's as easy as taking a fish oil supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids are like a 'miracle' pill. No doubt you will have read on Emed about the many benefits. These include:
- May prevent impared visual and brain development in children
- May prevent pregnancy complications, including premature delivery and low birth weight
- Taking fish oil during pregnancy can help to reduce allergies in children, increase children's IQ and reduce risk of post partum depression (Read Article “Omega-3s – Nutrients for the Brain”)
- Help reduce risk of cardiac death and stroke (Read Article “Fish Oil, Statin Drugs & Heart Attacks”)
- May prevent irregular heartbeat
- May prevent some forms of cancer
- May reduce cravings for fatty foods. Fish oil may help in weight loss and weight regulation
- May prevent and treat depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disease, ADHD and anger/aggression (Read Article “Fish Oil Treats ADHD Better Than Ritalin”)
- May prevent Alzheimer's disease
- May prevent and treat rheumatoid arthritis, system lupus, Irritable Bowel Disease and other inflammatory conditions
- Improve nail, hair and eye health
- May prevent diabetes (Read Article “Fish Oil Can Help Fight Diabetes”)
- May preserve eyesight decline associated with age
And now, fish oil can help prevent prostate cancer.
It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids help the body by protecting the membranes that surround each cell in the body. Cell membranes allow nutrients into the cell and also are instrumental in the communication that happens between healthy cells. It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids enable the fluidity and flexibility of the cell membranes.
Fish oil is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. As chronic inflammation is the driver for many disease types, fish oil works quickly in the body at a cellular level, preventing the onset of conditions and treating existing ones.
We should all aim to eat more fish in our diet. Often, it is spared for special occasions, and sadly, canned tuna just doesn't cut it.
Aim to eat fish a few times a week, and if you aren't already doing so, start using a good fish oil supplement.
Fish oil supplementation
Emed offers a range of high quality fish oils that are amongst the strongest available on the market. Unfortunately, cheap supermarket-bought fish oils may seem like value-for-money, but you might as well flush your money down the loo. Most contain negligable ratios of fish oils sourced from inferior fish.
Investing in a high quality and potent fish oil like Metagenics Ultra EPA is a wise investment for your health future. It contains a high amount of EPA (eicosapenoic acid) which is the main driver for the reduction of inflammation. In liquid form, it works quickly and effectively to reduce inflammation and pain throughout the body.
Out of all the fish oils we have researched, Ultra EPA is simply the best for inflammatory conditions.
For a good all-round fish oil formulation that is good for the whole family, Metagenics Meta EPA/DHA is ideal. It provides a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in an easy to swallow capsule form. Regular use will provide good support for a large range of conditions.
- Emed's Best Fish Oils
- Emed's Best Fish Oils for Kids
- Emed's Best Fish Oils for Kids with Learning Difficulties
What else can I do?
Being healthy and taking a proactive approach doesn't have to cost the earth, and it isn't hard. Starting with the basics is a good way to prevent many conditions before they even have a chance to strike.
One way to reduce your risk of developing many conditions, even prostate cancer, is to maintain a healthy weight and healthy diet.
Australia is a largely sedentary nation. We sit in our car or on the train, sit at work all day, then come home and sit in front of the TV. We should all be getting 20-30 minutes of quality exercise everyday.
This doesn't mean running 20 km every night. Go for a brisk walk at night with your partner, and use it not only as exercise, but a chance to spend some time together. Wake up and go for a light jog. Spend your lunch break at the gym. Grab the dog and take them for a long walk. It really isn't hard.
In terms of a healthy diet, most of us need to adopt a healthier eating plan (as well as more exercise!). Eat like a meat eating vegetarian with Coeliac's disease. Sounds hard doesn't it? In fact, it's actually really simple.
Your diet should predominantly consist of fresh vegetables (especially the green leafy type) and fruit. Eat lean meats, fish and chicken regularly (small portions at least twice a day), consume low-fat dairy products (yogurt, cheese and milk) and aim to cut out all sources of grains.
Grain foods like bread, rice, pasta, wheat and cereals drive a pro-inflammatory state – the driver of many diseases including cancer. Realistically, we don't need to eat them, and once you've had your fill on fruits, vegies, meat and dairy, there isn't much room left for bread. For more information on how grains drive your pain, click here.
Drink more water. As a bare minimum, you should drink 20 ml of water per kilo of body weight. For example, if you weigh 70 kilograms, you should drink 1.4 litres of water as a minimum everyday. For more information on how much water you should drink, click here.
- Health promoting nutrition
- Why change our diet?
- Eating to reduce inflammation
- What foods drive your pain?
- Reduce grains and sugar to lose weight
- Optimal water intake
As you can see, adopting healthy strategies like taking a regular fish oil supplement, eating better and exercising are easy ways to avoid ill health and all types of disease – even cancer. Make the effort now and you will be well rewarded in the future.