Eating Salmon Inhibits Prostate CancerMarch 23, 2015
Eating Salmon Inhibits Prostate Cancer
Reference: Liu Jr of Pharmacology
Remember hearing about how fish oil CAUSES prostate cancer (SELECT TRIAL)? Alarmed you a bit, didn’t it? It caused an uproar in my world, with many phone calls and lots of my colleagues being frustrated by the study. It just didn’t make sense! So, a careful look at that study showed lots of design flaws in the association found with much data suggesting a wrong conclusion. For example, look at the Japanese. They eat a lot of fish and have some of the highest blood levels of omega fats in the world, but have some of the lowest rates of prostate cancer.
If the SELECT trial really was truth, how do you explain that? In answer to the SELECT trial, researchers at the U. of Washington decided to try and get to the basic science. What happens to cancer cells when you expose them to known stimulants that get them to grow, with our without DHA and EPA (Fish oil)? And the answer was pretty dramatic, and pretty prompt. If you can understand the jargon of cancer cell receptors, and patiently make your way through the abstract, you pick out words like FFAR (free fatty acid receptors) that are activated by fish oil. What’s my take on it?
Here is the 90,000 foot interpretation. As a rule, cancer is an inflammatory disease. Our omega fats come in two families. The omega -3 fats are the precursors to all the anti-inflammatory eicosinoids. Eicosinoids are the delicate little chemicals that mediate signals between cells in your body and typically last only a few seconds to minutes. There are about 250 of them at last count. The omega-6 fats are the precursors to inflammation and are the precursor molecules to inflammatory eicosanoids.
In organic chemistry, chemical reactions are pushed harder by frontloading the active ingredients. The more fish oil you eat, the higher your blood level of omega-3 fats, the more you push anti-inflammatory eicosanoid production. There is now accumulating evidence that the omega fats have opposite effects on cancer cells in general. The omega-3 family is associated with less cancer, the omega-6 fats with more cancer. That’s what you expect if cancer is to be caused by inflammation. And that is what we see in world-wide nutrition epidemiology. The populations that eat the very most omega fats have some of the lowest rates of cancer in the world.
As populations engage with the world wide economy of industrial farming and mass production of vegetable oils, they get more and more omega-6 fats in their diet, we see more cancer. Vegetable oils are cheap to grow, taste delicious and heavens knows, we all love fried food. Consumption of vegetable oils has grown exponentially in the last century from almost nothing per capita to very high levels. And vegetable oils are strong sources of omega – 6 fats, thus inflammation, thus cancer. Added to all this confusion, our leading medical authorities such as the American Heart Association, have it exactly backward, and still think fats cause high blood cholesterols, not carbs. (They are wrong!) Nina Teicholz in her book, The Big Fat Surprise, got it right as shown on Dr. Mercola’s interview with her. (Opposing opinion expressed by SETH)
WWW. What will work for me? What’s my bottom line? I take fish oil every day, on the order of 2 grams a day. I think the basic science here gets to the bottom of the controversy and fits with the population studies we have from around the world. If you have prostate cancer, I would encourage you to take more fish oil. Pop Quiz
- In the laboratory, fish oil turns off cancer cells growth and reproduction? T or F. Answer: True. That’s what this paper says
- Fish oil contains high levels of omega three fats? T or F Answer: Also true
- Omega-3 fats are the precursors to inflammatory eicosinoids? T or F Answer: False. Pay attention. Omega – 3 fats are precusors to ANTI-inflammatory eicosinoids.
- Your body has two main eicosinoids in it, one for inflammation, one for anti-inflammation. T or F Answer: Also false. We have hundreds that work in very complex overlapping, subtle and synergistic ways.
- Populations with the highest consumption of fish tend to have lower rates of prostate cancer. T or F Answer: TrueYup
- Prudent conclusion might be….? Answer: Eat more fish oil. (Or grass raised meat that also is high in omega-3 fats)