Should you take omega-3 pills? Or try to have two omega-3 fish a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association? It may be a bit bleak if you follow headlines about nutrition and health.
That's why researchers at Intermountain Heart Healthcare Institute continue to research the benefits and risks of this common supplement, especially when it relates to prostate cancer risk and heart health.
The Intermountain research team presented two new omega-3s studies at the 2019 American Heart Association Science Sessions in Philadelphia on 17 November 2019.
In one study, Intermountain research team identified 87 patients who were part of INSPIRE's Intermountain Registry and had developed prostate cancer. These patients were also tested for plasma levels of docochexaexic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are two common omega-3 fatty acids.
Compared to a 149 male matched control group, the researchers found that higher omega-3 levels were not linked to elevated prostate cancer risk.
Viet T. Le said, MPAS, PA, researcher and physician assistant in Intermountain Heart Healthcare Institute that they undertook this study in the light of findings from a 2013 paper from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which suggested a possible link between omega- 3 plasma levels and prostate cancer development, one that has been debated since its publication.
"If I am proposing omega-3 for my patients to save their hearts, I want to ensure that I will not risk them from prostate cancer," Le said. "Our study found no evidence of a link between the two."
In the second study presented at the American Heart Society 2019 Science Sessions, Intermountain researchers looked at 894 patients who were going through coronary angiography (a test showing how blood runs through the arteries in the heart).
These patients did not, however, have had a heart attack or coronary artery disease on their first angiogram, approximately 40% of these patients had a severe disease and about three had three vessel diseases, Le said.
Researchers measured patient plasma levels of omega-3 metabolites, including DHA and EPA. These patients were then followed to see whether they had a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or later died.
Researchers found that patients with higher omega-3 metabolites had a lower risk of these continuing adverse effects irrespective of whether they had a severe disease on their initial angiogram.
"This study is important because we have looked at how omega 3 helps patients who have already developed a disease, and how it affects survival – going to the first diagnostics to diagnose (vs heart attack). or worse before they understand them with heart disease) and later, "said Le.
"While an apparent combination of higher omega-3 plasma levels and heavy heart disease results on the first alarm angiogram may raise omega-3 is not beneficial, they were alive to see a doctor and diagnose," Le said. "And we have seen a link between higher levels of omega-3 and its subsequent survival rate."
Other members of the research team include: Kirk U. Knowlton, Raymond O. McCubrey, Stacey Knight, Mohit Jain, Jeramie Watrous, Mahan Najhawan, Khoi Dao, Tami L. Bair, Benjamin D. Horne, Joseph B. Muhlestein, Donald L Lappe, Madisyn Taylor, John F. Carlquist, and Jeffrey L. Anderson.
This research was sponsored by the Intermountain Research and Medical Foundation and the Dell Loy Hansen Foundation, Inc..
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