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Can Omega-3s Protect Your Prostate?

Omega-3 essential fatty acids may protect against advanced prostate cancer, according to findings published in the March 2009 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco performed a case-control analysis of nearly 1000 men. Approximately half of the men had been previously diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and half were healthy.

The researchers used food frequency questionnaires to measure the omega-3 intake of the participants.

Based on the questionnaires, the researchers were able to compare the participants with the highest omega-3 intake (top quartile) to those with the lowest intake (lowest quartile). They found a 63% reduction in prostate cancer for men with the highest omega-3 consumption.

The researchers then focused their analysis on men with a specific COX-2 variant called rs4647310, which is linked to a five-fold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.

According to lead researcher Professor John Witte, the increased risk associated with the presence of rs4647310 was essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by only a half a gram per day.

This study adds to a growing body of evidence linking omega-3 consumption with lower cancer risk. One such study, which was published in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that eating omega-3 rich seafood may increase the survival rate among prostate cancer patients by 48%.

Previous research has also found a correlation between omega-3 consumption and improvements in cognitive function, heart health, and eye health.

Increasing your fish consumption is one way to augment your intake of these key omega-3s. But unless you eat a substantial quantity of fish, you probably won't get enough to trigger the health benefits. Using a high quality fish oil supplement can be a good way to bridge the gap.

It is important to be careful when choosing an omega-3 supplement because not all products are created equally. Make sure the one you choose is certified for purity and potency by a reputable agency and contains at least 750mg of combined EPA and DHA.
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