Articles

Nutrients, essential fatty acids and prostaglandins interact to augment immune responses and prevent genetic damage and cancer.

Author

Das UN

Date

3/1989

Journal

Nutrition

Abstract

Micronutrients, vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, and selenium can decrease the incidence of cancer, possibly due to their antioxidant action(s). These nutrients prevent lipid peroxidation, especially that of gamma-linolenic, dihomo-gamma-linolenic and arachidonic acids, the precursors of prostaglandins. Gammma-linolenic acid (GLA), dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and prostacyclin can prevent genetic damage in vitro and in vivo. They augment immune responses and tumoricidal actions of macrophages. Prostacyclin also has anti-metastatic properties. Zinc, magnesium, calcium and pyridoxine are cofactors in the formation of GLA, DGLA, PGE1 and PGI2. Hence, in situations where there is a reduced intake of trace elements and vitamins, there may be a decrease in the synthesis of GLA, DGLA, PGE1 and PGI2, leading to immune suppression and genetic damage that cannot be reversed or prevented. In the presence of adequate amounts of selenium, beta-carotene and Vitamin A and E, peroxidation of GLA/DGLA/AA would not occur, so that they are available for the synthesis of PGE1 and PGI2. This interaction between nutrients, essential fatty acids and prostaglandins can be exploited to develop new preventive and therapeutic strategies in cancer.