How Nutritional Support May Help
New Research Points to Benefits of Antioxidants, Carotenoids, Omega 3 Fish Oils, Vitamins & Other Nutritional Supplements
Researchers say that the risks of pancreatic cancer could decrease by 30% if people increased their intake of omega-3 fatty acids and took higher doses of vitamin C & vitamin E. This finding was based on a study conducted among residents in the San Francisco Bay area. The data showed that taking 850 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, instead of 330-580 milligrams per day – led to a 53% reduced risk of developing cancer of the pancreas.
It seems that vitamins C & E also play a critical role in lowering risks of pancreatic cancer. The International Journal of Cancer reported that when people increased their intake of these vitamins, there was a corresponding reduction of 31-33%.
One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that if an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids proves beneficial, an increased intake of saturated fats and some monounsaturated fats can produce the opposite effect. This was in fact what researchers from the University of California San Francisco discovered.
Note that pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer that causes deaths in the US. In 2007, the number of Americans who died of pancreatic cancer was over 33,000. Researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Bio-statistics said, “Results from this large population-based case-control study provide additional evidence that dietary factors and use of supplements may affect risk of pancreatic cancer. Our results showing increased risk of pancreatic cancer with increased saturated fatty acid intake and decreased risk with high intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid and of vitamin C and E from supplements contribute new data to the epidemiological literature on pancreatic cancer.”
Highlights of Study
Comparing two groups of people, researchers studied data taken from one group of 532 people stricken with pancreatic cancer, and data from the other group of 1,701 cancer-free individuals. Results showed a correlation between high consumption of saturated fats and a 60% risk of pancreatic cancer. At the other end of the spectrum, increased consumption of palmitoleic and oleic monounsaturated fatty acids showed a 40%-60% reduced risk. Researchers also discovered that linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid) increased cancer risks.
The evidence therefore points to the benefits of increasing one’s consumption of omega-3 as well as consuming higher amounts of vitamins C and E. This one distinct benefit is related to lower incidences of pancreatic cancer, as the San Francisco researchers learned.
Vitamins C and E contain antioxidants and are hence considered anti-carcinogenic substances. Oxidative stress and cancers triggered by cancer mutations are significantly lowered. A second health benefit of vitamins C and E is their ability to boost the immune system.
More studies are needed to shed light on fats and how they may be related to cancer. What is clear, however, is that when certain fats are consumed regularly, high amounts of bile acids are produced which in turn lead to bile reflux in the pancreas, making the body more vulnerable to cancer.
Volume 127, Issue 8, Pages 1893-1904
“Intake of fatty acids and antioxidants and pancreatic cancer in a large population-based case-control study in the San Francisco Bay Area”