Intake of this nutrient may help decrease colon cancer mortality after diagnosis.
According to a study published in Gut, researchers concluded that a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids might help decrease mortality in 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 shared a new study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Researchers demonstrated 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, in 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 new study, the results were based on two extensive, long-term studies: 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 which 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.
In this study, 1,659 participants developed bowel cancer, and as a result, 561 died. One hundred and sixty-nine of these deaths resulted from the disease during an average monitoring period of 10.5 years.
Participants diagnosed with colon cancer and whose diets contained higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a decreased mortality rate from the disease. Thus, there was an inverse relationship between omega-3 heavy acid intake and the 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 input before 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 with a combination of dietary sources and supplements.
The researchers determined that increasing the omega-3 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 mortality risk.
Other lifestyle and dietary habits such as exercise, increased dietary fiber, and vitamin D intake are also associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer.
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