(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) Walnut consumption slows the growth of prostate cancer in mice and has beneficial effects on multiple genes related to the control of tumor growth and metabolism, UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif. have found.
The study, by Paul Davis, nutritionist in the Department of Nutrition and a researcher with the UC Davis Cancer Center, announced the findings today at the annual national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.
Davis said the research findings provide additional evidence that walnuts, although high in fat, are healthful.
"This study shows that when mice with prostate tumors consume an amount of walnuts that could easily be eaten by a man, tumor growth is controlled," he said. "This leaves me very hopeful that it could be beneficial in patients."
Prostate cancer affects one in six American men. It is one in which environmental factors, especially diet, play an important role. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that eating walnuts -- rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants and other plant chemicals -- decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. These findings prompted the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2004 to approve, for the first time, a qualified health claim for reducing heart disease risk for a whole food.
Davis fed a diet with whole walnuts to mice that had been genetically programmed to get prostate cancer. After 18 weeks, they found that consuming the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of walnuts per day resulted in significantly smaller, slower-growing prostate tumors compared to mice consuming the same diet with an equal amount of fat, but not from walnuts. They also found that not only was prostate cancer growth reduced by 30 to 40 percent, but that the mice had lower blood levels of a particular protein, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has been strongly associated
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University of California - Davis - Health System