Researchers who set out to investigate the potential health benefits and risks of omega-3 have found it can protect the heart without increasing the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute conducted two new studies to better understand this nutrient.
The team conducted tests on 87 prostate cancer patients who were part of the Intermountain INSPIRE Registry in one study. The team tested for two common omega-3 fatty acids - ocosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - by measuring the patients' plasma levels. The team then compared that data to a matched control group of 149 male participants. The results showed there was no association between higher omega-3 levels and increased risk of prostate cancer.
The team wanted to conduct this investigation after a 2013 study, published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggested higher omega-3 plasma levels could increase the risk of the disease."If I'm recommending omega-3 for my patients to save their hearts, I want to make sure I'm not putting them at risk for prostate cancer. Our study found no evidence of a link between the two," Viet T. Le, MPAS, PA, researcher and physician assistant at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute, told a news portal.
For the second study, the team examined 894 patients undergoing coronary angiography - a test that shows how blood flows through the arteries in your heart. Patients undergoing this procedure had never experienced a heart attack and had no history of coronary artery disease. The team found 40 per cent of those patients suffered severe disease and 10 per cent suffered three-vessel disease.
The team also measured the patients' plasma levels of omega-3 metabolites, which included DHA and EPA. Researchers monitored the patients for a while to find out if any of them suffered a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure subsequently. The team discovered patients who had higher levels of omega-3 metabolites had a reduced risk of heart problems whether they had a disease before the test or not.
"This study is important because we looked at how omega-3 helps patients who have already developed disease, and its effects on survival - both in getting to the first angiography to be diagnosed (vs. having a heart attack or worse before even knowing they have heart disease) and thereafter," Le told a news portal. Adding,"While a seeming association between higher plasma omega-3 levels and the findings of severe heart disease upon initial angiogram might raise alarms that omega-3 isn't beneficial, they did live to see a doctor and get diagnosed. And we saw a link between higher levels of omega-3 and their survival rate thereafter."
The findings of two new studies about omega-3s were recently presented at the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.
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