Omega-3 Benefits Include Cutting Cancer and Dementia Risk

New research reveals that an essential fatty acid found in oily fish, omega-3, can slow down the growth of prostate cancer & prevent dementia developing later on in life.

Scientists in the US tested prostate tissue samples taken from men that had prostate cancer. Some of the men were put on a Western diet, with high levels of omega-6 fatty acids & low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The other men were put on a low fat diet supplemented by five grams of fish oil per day.

The scientists tested blood samples before & after the diet commenced. Published in Journal Cancer Prevention Research, the results showed that four to six weeks on a low fat diet with fish oil supplements could slow the growth of prostate cancer. The men on the Western diet without fish oil supplements did not experience the same effect.

Study leader Professor William Aronson, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said:'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.'

The diet appeared to alter the fatty acid composition of prostate cell membranes, and similar results were previously obtained from laboratory cell cultures and animals. Professor Aronson is now planning a larger study of 100 men with prostate cancers.

This study comes after news that eating a diet rich in omega-3 may prevent dementia later in life. Researchers at Northumbria University discovered that eating oily fish increased blood flow to the brain, and improved reaction times in 18-35 year olds as well as reducing levels of mental fatigue.

Increased blood flow to the brain is important for older people, since it may prevent cognitive decline & dementia. Researchers now plan to conduct a study on omega-3 use in people aged 50-70.

3 November 2011