Manchester: Including oily fish, containing Omega 3 fatty acids may prevent the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the border, according to research by the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at the Christie Hospital.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and is particularly dangerous if it infects areas such as bone marrow.
Omega 3 fats, found in mackerel, fresh tuna, salmon and sardines, have already been found to cut the risk of contracting the cancer. And this research suggests they might prevent a more aggressive form of the disease developing particularly when Omega 3 is combined with Omega 6 oils.
The experts looked at prostate cells in the laboratory and examined the extent to which they spread to bone marrow.
Both types of oils are essential for good health, but a balance could be required as omega 6 was found to help cancer to spread.
Dr Mick Brown, chief scientist in the research group, said that Omega 6 fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, increased the spread of tumour cells into bone marrow. And this was blocked by Omega 3, so a balance was required.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, may also help in the development of drugs to stop other cancers, such as breast cancer, from spreading in the body.
Other research shows that a daily dose of fish oils could help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
A team from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London looked at the effect of omega 3 supplements on the number of glutamate receptors in the brains of aging rats. These are known to be essential to memory and alertness.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the concentration of glutamate receptors in the brains of rats who ate unsupplemented food had decreased. But the animals whose food had been enriched had as many as much younger rats, the journal Neurobiology of Aging reports.
The researchers believe the same could hold true for humans and say that omega 3 could hold promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.