US scientists have found out that a low fat with fish oil diet can reduce the growth of prostate cancer after testing prostate tissue samples taken from men with the disease.
They also found out that just four to six weeks on the diet was enough to reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Men who are on a regular Western diet but with no fish oil supplements did not get the same result as to those with the fish oil diet.
According to the study leader Professor William Aronson, from the University of California at Los Angeles, ‘The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression.’
‘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 findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
The scientists tested blood samples before and after the diet commenced, and examined tissue from surgically removed prostate glands.
Changes prompted by what the men were eating were clearly evident in the prostate tissue, said Prof Aronson.
The diet appeared to alter the fatty acid composition of prostate cell membranes.
Similar results were previously obtained from laboratory cell cultures and animals.
‘You truly are what you eat,’ said Prof Aronson. His team were extremely pleased that their findings could suggest a change in diet would affect the biology of prostate cancer
Based on their animal studies, they were hopeful that they would see the same effects in humans. They are extremely pleased about their findings, which suggest that by altering the diet, they may favorably affect the biology of prostate cancer.’
The low-fat diet relied on fat to provide just 15% of calories. Men on the diet also took five grams of fish oil per day in five capsules.
‘Preclinical studies suggest that lowering dietary omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases the risk of prostate cancer development and progression,’ the scientists wrote.