A diet high in omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish may help to lower the risk of death from bowel cancer in patients diagnosed with the disease, research published in the journal Gut says.
If the findings can be reproduced in other studies, patients with bowel cancer might benefit from boosting their oily fish intake to help prolong their survival.
The findings were based on research into participants of two large long term studies: the Nurses’ Health Study of 121,700 US registered female nurses, aged between 30 and 55 in 1976; and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study of 51, 529 male health professionals, aged between 40 and 75 in 1986.
The information requested included any diagnosis of bowel cancer and other potentially influential factors, such as height, weight, smoking status, regular use of aspirin and non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, and exercise taken.
Those who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and had diets with higher levels of marine omega 3 had a lower risk of dying from the disease. Omega 3 intake, however, was not linked to a lower risk of death, overall.
Participants with a higher dietary intake of omega 3 from oily fish were more likely to be physically active, take multivitamins, drink alcohol and to consume more vitamin D and fibre. They were also less likely to smoke—all factors associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer.