Recent Omega-3 Fish Oil and Prostate Cancer Study is Seriously Flawed.

Earlier this week every major news media was running a report claiming that a recent study proved that high intakes of fish oil supplements caused a 71% increase in prostate cancer. Then they usually brought on their resident MD who confirmed that yes this appeared to be true and they should stop taking all fish oil supplements. The problem is I doubt any of them read the study, they just repeated the headline.

Over the years there have been over 2,000 studies which have looked at fish oil and cancer. Most found that fish oil lowers the risk and death rate for many types of cancer, including prostate. So lets take a closer look at the study and you’ll quickly see how flawed it is and really seems to just an error filled attempt to slander the fish oil supplement industry.

The study they pulled data from was the abandoned SELECT trail that ran between 2001 and 2004 looking at the effects of selenium and Vitamin E on cancer prevention. The study was not designed to look at omega 3 levels,  so the study was not looking at fish oil in relation to prostate cancer, but they pulled data from this study anyways.

Here is a summary of the errors they made.

  • The participates in the study had their blood lipid (fat) levels checked when they signed up for the study. It was the one and only test the 834 participates had of their blood lipid and omega-3 levels.
  • The study included sick and healthy people, but no indication of who may be taking fish oil supplement. It is common to find that when someone becomes ill that then they will start trying different alternative treatments, like fish oil, to help combat their disease.
  • Every man in this study already had prostate cancer
  • The study jumps to the conclusion that since fish oil supplements are so commonly taken that they could have contributed to the increase, yet no data to support that
  • The test only measured the percentage of omega-3 oil compared to total blood lipids. They never looked at the actual amount of omega-3 fats in the blood.
  • There were no questions about dietary or supplement use. Nor were there questions of when the last piece of fish was eaten or fish oil, krill oil, or flax seed oil supplement was taken. This makes sense as the original study wasn’t looking at omega-3, but only selenium and vitamin-E
  • the difference between the blood levels of omega-3 was only 0.2% between the high and the low.  This is statistically an insignificant difference in omega-3 levels. (High was 4.66% vs 4.48% for the low)
  • If the findings of the study were true, then you should find epidemic prostate cancer in countries and areas where fatty fish consumption is high like the Scandinavian countries, Japan and much of Asia, but prostrate cancer is low in these areas.
  • The statistical model they used (Cox proportional hazards) doesn’t apply to a single measurement vs a later outcome. This statistical model is designed to look at a long term daily use of a drug, food, supplement vs the outcome. Had an appropriate statistical method been used the outcome could have been completely different.
  • Even with the statical model they used, the difference between the omega-3 fatty acids was NOT statistically significant.
  • The same researcher, Brasky, had another study in 2011 which didn’t show any correlation between omega-3 and prostate cancer.
  • They cited another study by Chavarro in 2007 that showed a very strong benefit of fish oil sources of omega-3 in protecting against prostate cancer.
  • There was no control group in this study. The original study which was abandoned did have a control group, but none in the data they pulled.
  • The overall levels of fish oil found were low, so it’s likely they were NOT supplementing.
  • It is known that fat is the fuel of prostate cancer, and since this study was done in the U.K. where a lot of fish and chips are eaten is it possible that the fish oil was coming from fried fish and that those people with prostate cancer had higher fats in their diet and that that was the true link to prostate cancer- but none of this information is available in the study data.

Other factors to consider:

  • A recent study my Szymanski in 2010 showed a large reduction in late stage or fatal prostate cancer.
  • Several other studies, Lietzman, 2004 and Terry 2001, showed in large populations that increased omega-3 consumption correlated to a reduction in prostate cancer.
  • A recent study by Zheng in 2013 looking at over 500,000 participants and 16,000 incidence of breast cancer found that each 0.1g increase in omega-3 daily consumption correlated to a 5% decrease in risk of breast cancer.  So the average fish oil supplement is 1,000 mg, or 1.0 g, so that would be a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk.
  • The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Many will argue this, but the pharmaceutical and health care industry can not afford a cure for cancer. It is a multi billion dollar industry and if cancer were cured think of the drug companies, hospitals, oncologist, etc who would be out of business. So the health care industries and especially the pharmaceutical companies will fund studies which are geared to discredit what does work, but they can’t make money on.

In summary, this study should never have been published and should have been rejected. I suspect though that as quickly and powerfully that it came out in the media that there was a real PR push behind it – Someone wanted to damage the supplement industry and they jumped to the conclusion that fish oil supplements were the cause when the study never even disclosed if a single person even took supplments of any kind, at fatty fish, etc.

Here is the study which is making the headlines  http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/09/jnci.djt174.abstract

Download the full study here Fatty acids and prostate cancer JNCI Brasky July 2013.pdf

Here is a critical critique by a professor of Radiation Oncology department at the Harvard Medical School Click Here

 

 

Grape seed extract is an anti-cancer powerhouse

The therapeutic potential of grape seed extract as anti-oxidant, anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory is so well established that this natural supplement is now being used in seven on-going clinical trials, only one of which is on cancer (of the breast). But the spotlight may soon shift to grape seed extract’s anti-cancer potential as recent landmark studies on human patients have just uncovered its remarkable protective effects against three major cancers: squamous cell carcinoma, prostate and hematologic malignancies. Even more remarkable is that this breakthrough in the science of natural medicine was not due to the foresight of medical practitioners who designed the trials, but to the patients who took grape seed extract, on their volition, as a nutritional supplement to support general health.

74% Risk Reduction of Skin Cancer (SCC)
A recent study, just published in June 2011, was carried out in northern California on 830 participants to test the effects of general supplement use on the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma (the second most common skin cancer). The supplements in use included vitamins A, C, D, E, multivitamins and grape seed extract. Only the users of grape seed extract experienced a significant reduction in risk (P = 0.031) of squamous cell carcinoma–by an astounding 74%. Multivitamin users experienced 29% reduced risk, but this was only borderline statistically significant.

62% Risk Reduction of Prostate CancerA much larger study conducted in Washington State tracked 35,239 male participants starting in the year 2000 in the VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort. Participants, aged 50-76 years, answered detailed questionnaires about specialty supplement use for the 10 years prior to the start of the study. Prostate cancer risk was assessed after a median follow-up time of 6.1 years. The results showed grape seed extract to be the stand-alone winner. Men, who used an individual grape seed extract supplement with “high average use” over 10 years, experienced a significant 62% risk reduction of prostate cancer compared to non-users, while average users of grape seed extract supplements experienced a 41% risk reduction. None of the other supplements observed in this study (CoQ10, fish oil, garlic pills, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, glucosamine, chondroitin or saw palmetto) were seen to offer protection against prostate cancer. Note, however, that green tea was not one of the supplements considered. This study was published in May 2011.

43% Risk Reduction of Hematologic CancersThe same VITAL cohort as used for the prostate cancer study was also used to assess risk of hematologic cancers (involving blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes). The population was expanded to include women, for a total of 66,227 participants. Those who had ever used grape seed supplements saw a 43% risk reduction for hematologic cancers. This was only matched by those with a “high use” of garlic, who saw a 47% reduction of risk. No other supplements offered significant protection. This study was published in August 2011.

In addition to the above cancers, grape seed extract has already demonstrated cytotoxicity against breast cancer, colon cancer, glioblastoma, and NSC lung cancer cells in laboratory studies. But the three study results on human populations given above provide a dramatic leap forward for the science backing grape seed extract as an anti-cancer supplement. It is astounding, then, that none of the above studies received much media attention. That will likely require full-blown clinical trials, which will almost certainly be kicked-off as a result of these studies, but will take years to complete. Until then, the latest findings on grape seed extract make a compelling case for its consideration in any program or supplement regimen meant to reduce cancer risk.

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/r…
http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art…

About the author

Ethan Evers is author of the award-winning medical thriller “The Eden Prescription,” in which natural medicine outperforms a billion-dollar chemo drug and threatens the entire $50 billion cancer drug industry. Ethan based The Eden Prescription on the latest science on natural medicine for cancer, and wrote it to show the future reality that natural medicine can bring us—and to warn of the strategies now being used by those who are trying to stop it. Ethan has a PhD in Applied Science.

Broccoli proven to prevent cancer, particularly prostate and breast cancer.

Information from Oregon State University
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sulforaphane, one of the primary phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that helps them prevent cancer, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected. 
The findings, made by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, are another important step forward for the potential use of sulforaphone in cancer prevention and treatment. Clinical prevention trials are already under way for its use in these areas, particularly prostate and breast cancer.
It appears that sulforaphane, which is found at fairly high levels in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes. HDAC inhibition is one of the more promising fields of cancer treatment and is being targeted from both a pharmaceutical and dietary approach, scientists say.
“It’s important to demonstrate that sulforaphane is safe if we propose to use it in cancer prevention or therapies,” said Emily Ho, a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute, lead author on the study and associate professor in the OSU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences. 
“Just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn’t always mean its safe, and a lot can also depend on the form or levels consumed,” Ho said. “But this does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer cells, and that’s always what you look for in cancer therapies.” 
The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, a professional journal. Research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station. 
The Linus Pauling Institute has conducted some of the leading studies on sulforaphane’s role as an HDAC inhibitor – one, but not all, of the mechanisms by which it may help prevent cancer. HDACs are a family of enzymes that, among other things, affect access to DNA and play a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor suppressor genes. 
Some of the mechanisms that help prevent inappropriate cell growth – the hallmark of cancer – are circumvented in cancer cells. HDAC inhibitors can help “turn on” these silenced genes and restore normal cellular function.
Previous OSU studies done with mouse models showed that prostate tumor growth was slowed by a diet containing sulforaphane. 
“It is well documented that sulforaphane can target cancer cells through multiple chemopreventive mechanisms,” the researchers wrote in their study. “Here we show for the first time that sulforaphane selectively targets benign hyperplasia cells and cancerous prostate cells while leaving the normal prostate cells unaffected.” 
“These findings regarding the relative safety of sulforaphane to normal tissues have significant clinical relevance as the use of sulforaphane moves towards use in human clinical trials,” they said. 
The results also suggest that consumption of sulforaphane-rich foods should be non-toxic, safe, simple and affordable. 
It is hard to eat broccoli several times a day, so I take a daily multivitamin which includes broccoli phytochemicals.

Higher Vitamin E Levels Prolong Cancer Survival

A study reported in Cancer Research (May 2009) showed that those individuals with prostate cancer had a better chance of survival if they were taking vitamin E supplementation. Those prostate cancer patients who had the highest levels of vitamin E had a 33% lower risk of dying from their prostate cancer when compared to those who had the lowest levels of vitamin E. In fact, the group of men who had prostate cancer and actually took vitamin E supplements had a 50% decreased risk of dying from their prostate cancer when compared to the group with the lowest risk of prostate cancer.

I believe that we all should be taking nutritional supplements and providing our bodies with cellular nutrition. However, if you have any form of cancer, the medical evidence is very strong that you will tolerate your treatments better and respond better to those treatments, if you are taking high-quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements. Vitamin E being just one of those nutrients that needs to be supplemented.

Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Previously, there have been several studies that showed you can actually reverse or at least improve hardening of arteries by consuming 3 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. Now a recent study shows that consumption of pomegranate juice slows further increases in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) among men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In this study, which was reported in the Journal of Urology in April 2009, 46 men with rising PSA counts after treatment for prostate cancer received 8 ounces of pomegranate juice. The “doubling time”) of their PSA (the time it took for their PSA levels to double) slowed from 15 months to 54 months. This was strong evidence that there was significant slowing of the progression of their prostate cancer.
y, there have been several studies that showed you can actually reverse or at least improve hardening of arteries by consuming 3 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. Now a recent study shows that consumption of pomegranate juice slows further increases in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) among men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In this study, which was reported in the Journal of Urology in April 2009, 46 men with rising PSA counts after treatment for prostate cancer received 8 ounces of pomegranate juice. The “doubling time”) of their PSA (the time it took for their PSA levels to double) slowed from 15 months to 54 months. This was strong evidence that there was significant slowing of the progression of their prostate cancer.

Higher Vitamin D levels are Associated with Better Outcomes in Prostate Cancer Patients

There was a recent study published in the February, 2009 edition of the British Journal of Cancer that investigated vitamin D levels in prostate cancer patients. They found that prostate cancer patients that had a medium-high level of vitamin D (20 to 32 ng/ml) had a 66% increase in survival rate and those who had a high level of vitamin D (greater than 32 ng/ml) had an 80% increase in survival compared to those with a low level of vitamin D (less than 20 ng/ml).

This is a pretty amazing study when you realize that I recommend that you should have at least a vitamin D level over 50 ng/ml and ideally over 60 ng/ml. This is just another good reason to be sure that your vitamin D levels are optimal. Obviously, if you have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you should get your vitamin D levels checked right away.

From Dr. Ray Strands – Health Nuggets

Diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer, even in men who carry a particular variant in the COX-2 gene that is known to raise the risk of the disease.

“Previous research has shown protection (by omega-3 fatty acids) against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2,” Dr. John S. Witte of the University of California, San Francisco noted in a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Witte and colleagues studied 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy matched controls. They assessed diet using a “food frequency” questionnaire and genotyped the men for nine COX-2 variants.

The researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.

“Importantly,” Witte and colleagues say, this protective effect was even stronger in men who carried the COX-2 variant, rs4647310, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Specifically, men with low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this particular variant had a more than fivefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 rs4647310 variant.

In other words, the increased risk of prostate cancer associated with the COX-2 rs4647310 variant was “essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day,” Witte said.

“If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week,” he added.

SOURCE: Clinical Cancer Research, online March 24, 2009.