Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer may want to consider increasing the amount of fish oil in their diet. New research indicates that fish oil may delay prostate cancer progression by affecting the immune system.
What affect does fish oil have on prostate cancer?
More specifically, this animal study looked at the impact of a fish oil-based diet on tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), cells that play a significant role in the development of cancer. To do that, investigators fed a high-fat fish oil or corn oil diet to mice with prostate cancer tumors.
Overall, fish oil inhibited TAM infiltration and delayed the progression of prostate cancer when compared with the mice given corn oil. Levels of various cancer markers in the immune system were lower in the mice fed the omega-3 fatty acids when compared with the corn oil-fed mice. These findings demonstrate the potential of fish oil in affecting the progression of human prostate cancer via the immune system.
In more new research, a team reviewed the data from 44 studies on the safety and efficacy of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids in the incidence and progression of prostate cancer. Overall, the findings were mixed, with some of the studies suggesting a decrease in inflammation and other cancer markers (e.g., cytokines, chemokines) as well as a lower risk of prostate cancer-related death associated with higher intake of fish, but others did not show positive findings. The investigators concluded that “An association between higher omega-3 intake and decreased PrCa [prostate cancer] mortality may be present but more research is needed.”
How to get more fish oil in your diet
Men with or without prostate cancer can benefit from including more fish oil in their diet. Among the cleanest (less contaminated) sources of fish oil in the diet are sardines and mussels. Both sardines and mussels are very good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Mussels also are a much more sustainable, environmentally responsible choice. About 90 percent of the world’s fish populations are either fully depleted or exploited, but that is not the case with mussels.
For men who avoid fish for any reason or who include it in their diet only occasionally, fish oil supplements are a good option for overall health. Choose a reputable brand, such as EveryDay Omega-3, which has been sustainably sourced, molecularly distilled for purity, and contains no artificial ingredients, allergens, or GMOs.
Read more in our Omega-3 Buyers Guide