UCLA researchers studied mice with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer that is closely related to the disease in humans. The researchers split the mice into two groups: The first received a diet with a healthy 1:1 ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids, and the second received a diet with most of the fats coming from omega-6 sources.
By the end of the study, the rate of tumor cell growth in the first group had decreased by 22 percent, and PSA levels were 77 percent lower than in the second group. The researchers believe that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are converted into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which reduce tumor growth, whereas omega-6 fatty acids are converted into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins that promote tumor growth.
"This study strongly suggests that eating a healthier ratio of these two types of fatty acids may make a difference in reducing prostate cancer growth, but studies need to be conducted in humans before any clinical recommendations can be made," says lead researcher Dr. William Aronson.
The typical Western diet generally consists of a 1:20 ratio of omega-3s omega-6 fatty acids, which are mostly derived from corn oil, safflower oil and red meat. In light of their study results, the researchers are conducting a clinical trial testing balanced dietary ratios of the two fatty acids on men undergoing prostate removal, which could lead to a larger clinical trial and possibly mainstream treatment in the future, Aronson says.
"Eat more chia seeds," advises Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and holistic nutritionist. "The evidence in support of health benefits derived from omega-3 fatty acids is absolutely astonishing. Both men and women would do well do eat more chia seeds, salmon, flax and fish oil supplements."