Writing in the peer-reviews British Journal of Nutrition, Iranian scientists report that omega-3 and CoQ10 supplements independently reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in normal healthy men by 30 and 33%, respectively.
On the other hand, supplements containing the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) were linked to increases in PSA levels. PSA is a marker commonly used to screen for prostate cancer and for tracking the disease after its diagnosis.
“These findings may have possible clinical implications,” wrote the researchers. “Dietary supplements containing n-3 PUFA or CoQ10 may have a protective effect against developing prostate cancer and/or a therapeutic effect in men with prostate cancer.”
Five hundred and four men were recruited to participate in the study, and were randomly assigned to receive CoQ10 (400 mg per day, Nutri Q10, Nutri Century), omega-3 (4.48 g of EPA and 2.88 g of DHA per day, EPAX 5500TG), GLA (2400mg, Vitex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd), or placebo for 12 weeks.
Results showed that the omega-3 and CoQ10 supplements were associated with 30% and 33% reductions in PSA levels, respectively, while GLA was associated with PSA increases of about 15%.
Commenting on the potential mechanisms of protection, the Tehran-based scientists note that omega-3 fatty acids may “exert their anti-tumor effect is by the anti-inflammatory effects of PUFA, through mediation of cyclo-oxygenase […] a key enzyme in fatty acid metabolism and inflammation”.
CoQ10, on the other hand, is an antioxidant, and may also function as a “non-specific stimulant for the immune system and a role in membrane stabilization, inhibition of intracellular phospholipases and stabilization of Ca-dependent slow channels”.
“The results from the present study suggest that men on EPA and CoQ10 supplementation may require a lower threshold (about 30 %) for PSA screening. However, these findings need to be interpreted with caution,” they said.
“Although statistically PSA was altered with the duration of treatment, longer studies are necessary to reach an appropriate conclusion. Also, studies need to be carried out to determine whether removal of the treatment allows the PSA values to return back to pre-treatment levels.”
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
November 2012, Volume 30, Pages 1-8, doi: 10.1017/S0007114512004783
“Effects of EPA, gamma-linolenic acid or coenzyme Q10 on serum prostate-specific antigen levels: a randomised, double-blind trial”
Authors: Safarinejad MR, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S.