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Food, Health, and Eco-news
Positive Omega-3/Prostate Trial
Taken separately, omega-3 and coQ10 pills each cut men’s PSA levels by a third 12/17/2012
By Craig Weatherby
 
As its name implies, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein generated by the prostate gland.
 
The PSA test has been widely used to screen men for prostate cancer and monitor men who've been diagnosed with or treated for the disease.
 
And the higher a man's PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer … but some patients don't have high levels
 
But benign conditions like prostatitis, urinary tract infection, or BPH (enlarged prostate) can raise PSA levels. misleadingly.
 
Conversely, drugs used to treat BPH (e.g., finasteride and dutasteride) can lower a man's PSA level, giving a potentially false appearance of safety.
 
Official U.S. advisory groups now advise against using PSA screening for prostate cancer because of these false signals and because the diagnostic benefits, if any, are small … while the harms of unnecessary treatment can be substantial.
 
No experts recommend its use without a detailed discussion with a physician concerning the pros and cons of using the test.
 
Iranian scientists now report that omega-3 and CoQ10 supplements each cut men's PSA levels by about one-third.
 
Omega-3s and prostate health
Most of the studies conducted to date link higher fish or omega-3 intakes to reduced prostate risks … with some differences due to genetic variations (Szymanski KM et al. 2010).
 
 
In one exception, as our article title said, “Omega-3s [were] Linked, Weakly, to Rare Prostate Cancer”.
 
However, as many expert commentators noted, the results were very weak statistically and contradicted by a large body of positive clinical evidence … hence, they lack credibility.
 
Iranian trial finds omega-3s and CoQ10 cut PSA levels
A team from Tehran's Clinical Center for Urological Disease recruited 504 men to participate in a 12-week trial (Safarinejad MR et al. 2012).
 
The men were randomly assigned to one of four daily supplement regimens:
  • Placebo capsule
  • Omega-6 GLA (2400mg)
  • CoQ10 (400 mg)
  • Omega-3 fish oil (4.48g EPA + 2.88g DHA)
We should note that at more than 7 grams per day, this was an unusually high daily dose of omega-3s.
 
(Heart patients with high triglyceride levels are advised to take 4 grams daily, while most authorities recommend 1 gram daily for heart patients and 250-500mg per day for healthy people.)
 
GLA is a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid (extracted from borage or primrose oil), which often exerts anti-inflammatory effects.
 
After 12 weeks, PSA levels dropped an average of 30 percent in the omega-3 group and by an average of 33 percent in the CoQ10 group.
 
In contrast, PSA levels rose about 15 percent in the omega-6 GLA group.
 
The Tehran team noted that prostate cancer is promoted by inflammation, and that omega-3 fatty acids exert relevant anti-inflammatory effects.
 
And they wrote that CoQ10 – an antioxidant natural to the human body – exerts several specific anti-cancer effects and probably modulates inflammation.
 
However, they urged caution about their findings:
“Although statistically PSA was altered with the duration of treatment, longer studies are necessary to reach an appropriate conclusion.” (Safarinejad MR et al. 2012)
 
Given the evidence overall to date, it seems that omega-3s are prostate health allies, while the excess omega-fat intake typical of Americans is risky.
 
 
Sources
  • Akinsete JA, Ion G, Witte TR, Hardman WE. Consumption of high ω-3 fatty acid diet suppressed prostate tumorigenesis in C3(1) Tag mice. Carcinogenesis. 2012 Jan;33(1):140-8. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgr238. Epub 2011 Oct 31.
  • Aronson WJ, Kobayashi N, Barnard RJ, Henning S, Huang M, Jardack PM, Liu B, Gray A, Wan J, Konijeti R, Freedland SJ, Castor B, Heber D, Elashoff D, Said J, Cohen P, Galet C. Phase II prospective randomized trial of a low-fat diet with fish oil supplementation in men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Dec;4(12):2062-71. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0298. Epub 2011 Oct 25.
  • Carayol M, Grosclaude P, Delpierre C. Prospective studies of dietary alpha-linolenic acid intake and prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Mar;21(3):347-55. doi: 10.1007/s10552-009-9465-1. Review.
  • Christensen JH, Fabrin K, Borup K, Barber N, Poulsen J. Prostate tissue and leukocyte levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in men with benign prostate hyperplasia or prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2006 Feb;97(2):270-3.
  • Chua ME, Sio MC, Sorongon MC, Dy JS. Relationship of dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 Fatty acids with risk of prostate cancer development: a meta-analysis of prospective studies and review of literature. Prostate Cancer. 2012;2012:826254. doi: 10.1155/2012/826254. Epub 2012 Oct 18.
  • Gerber M. Omega-3 fatty acids and cancers: a systematic update review of epidemiological studies. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107 Suppl 2:S228-39. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512001614. Review.
  • Hamazaki K, Higashihara E, Terachi T, Takada H, Matsuda T, Kawakita M, Fuse H, Hamazaki T, Kameyama S, Masai M, Chiba Y, Tokunaga M, Furuya Y, Okegawa T, Murota T, Kawa G, Itomura M. The effect of eicosapentaenoic acid on prostate-specific antigen. In Vivo. 2006 May-Jun;20(3):397-401.
  • Heinze VM, Actis AB. Dietary conjugated linoleic acid and long-chain n-3 fatty acids in mammary and prostate cancer protection: a review. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Feb;63(1):66-78. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.598849. Epub 2011 Jul 15. Review.
  • Higashihara E, Itomura M, Terachi T, Matsuda T, Kawakita M, Kameyama S, Fuse H, Chiba Y, Hamazaki T, Okegawa T, Tokunaga M, Murota T, Kawa G, Furuya Y, Akashi T, Hamazaki K, Takada H. Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on biochemical failure after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. In Vivo. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(4):561-5.
  • Reese AC, Fradet V, Witte JS. Omega-3 fatty acids, genetic variants in COX-2 and prostate cancer. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2009;2(3):149-58. doi: 10.1159/000235565. Epub 2009 Sep 23. Review.
  • Safarinejad MR, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S. Effects of EPA, γ-linolenic acid or coenzyme Q10 on serum prostate-specific antigen levels: a randomised, double-blind trial. Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 30:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Shaikh IA, Brown I, Wahle KW, Heys SD. Enhancing cytotoxic therapies for breast and prostate cancers with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(3):284-96. doi: 10.1080/01635580903407189. Review.
  • Szymanski KM, Wheeler DC, Mucci LA. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1223-33. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29530. Epub 2010 Sep 15. Review.
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