October 18, 2017

Colon cancer mortality decreased from Omega-3 intake after diagnosis

According to a new study published 3 days ago in Gut, researchers concluded that a high dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids may decrease mortality from patients with colon cancer.

Previous research has demonstrated that omega 3 fatty acids suppress tumor growth and decrease angiogenesis to malignant cells. For example, two months ago I have shared new study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, researchers demonstrate that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps reduce renal cell carcinoma invasiveness, growth rate, and blood vessel growth when combined with the anti-cancer therapy regorafenib. In addition, a study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, researchers at Washington State University found a mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells.

In this study, the results were based on two large long term studies including the Nurses’ Health Study of 121,700 US registered female nurses and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study of 51, 529 male health professionals. All participants completed a detailed health history and this was repeated every two years subsequently. The information included any diagnosis of bowel cancer as well as and other risk factors. In addition, a diet diary was collected and updated every four years using Food Frequency Questionnaires.

There were 1,659 participants who developed bowel cancer and as a result 561 died. One hundred and sixty nine of these deaths were a result of the disease during an average monitoring period of 10.5 years.

Participants who had been diagnosed with colon cancer and whose diets contained higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids had a mortality rate from the disease. There was an inverse relationship between omega 3 fatty acid intake and risk of death. The higher dose or intake of fish oil was associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer. This was also true after adjusting the intake prior to the diagnosis. Patients who consumed less omega 3 fatty acids daily had a 41% lower risk of dying from cancer once they increased their intake at the time of diagnosis. This reduced risk was associated to a combination of dietary sources as well as supplements.

The researchers determine that increasing their intake of 0.15 g daily after diagnosis was associated with a 70% reduction in mortality. On the other hand reducing daily essential fatty acid intake was associated with a 10% increased risk in mortality.

Other lifestyle and dietary habits such as exercise, increased dietary fiber and vitamin D are also associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Mingyang Song, Xuehong Zhang, Jeffrey A Meyerhardt, Edward L Giovannucci, Shuji Ogino, Charles S Fuchs, Andrew T Chan. Marine ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis. Gut, 2016; gutjnl-2016-311990 DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-311990

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