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Cancer news: Whole walnuts may help prevent prostate cancer
By David Liu PHD Saturday Jan 21, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- It's almost common sense now that eating a fatty diet may boost risk for prostate cancer. But a new study suggests that whole walnuts may be enlisted as a chemoprevention agent to help fight the disease in people eating a high fat diet. The study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition on Jan 16, 2012 shows that mice on a diet with 20 percent calories or energy from soybean oil containing 155 grams or 5.47 oz. of whole walnuts reduced prostate cancer tumor and growth rate, compared to control animals. Paul A. Davis of University of California - Davis in California and colleagues found this anti-cancer property of walnuts when they tested the study diet against two control diets, one diet with 20 percent calories from soybean oil and the other with 8 percent calories of soybean oil, in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate cancer model. Animals ate one diet assigned ad libitum for 24 weeks, starting at 8 weeks of age. At 9, 18 and 24 weeks of feeding, prostates, livers and blood were obtained for analyses. Animals on either high fat diet had the same growth rates, but lower growth rates of tumor and tumor weight were found in the group of mice eating the high fat diet with whole walnuts supplemented. Additionally, prostate weight, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1, resistin and low density lipoprotein or LDL in the walnut diet group were lower at 18 weeks, while prostate weight did not vary significantly by diet at 9 or 24 weeks. Eating too much of soybean oil, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids, is considered a risk factor for cancer. In contrast, studies suggest increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fatty fish are already associated with lower risk of cancer. High levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, resistin and low density lioprotein were correlated with elevated risk of cancer risk, according to previous studies. Walnuts viewed as a kind of whole food are high in omega-3 fatty acids. One ounce of walnuts contains 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Many other nutrients in walnuts can also be beneficial. Could Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts be protective against prostate cancer? To say the least, high ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids were found to boost the risk for prostate cancer, according to a study reported in Jan 2011 in the Nutrition Research. The study led by christina D. Williams of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC found those who had highest intake ratios of mega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids were 3.55 times as likely as those who had low intake ratios to suffer high-grade prostate cancer. This and other studies may suggest that men eating high fat diets may use lots of walnuts to help them prevent prostate cancer. An estimated 241,740 prostate cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012 in the United States and the disease will kill about 28,170 men in the country in the same year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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