Monday, November 19, 2018

Breast cancer: Omega-3-rich diet may stop tumors from spreading

New research shows that a diet rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids shows the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in female mice. The diet enriched with omega-3 also improved the rodents’ survival.

A vast body of research hails the benefits of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthful fats are found in fish, seafood, nuts, and seeds, as well as in fish oil, plant oils and some fortified foods.

For example, an extensive study of almost half a million people, which lasted around 16 years, recently found that eating more fish and long-chain omega-3s reduces the risk of mortality and may prolong life. Omega-3s may improve cardiovascular and cognitive function, potentially stave off depression, and have a positive impact on a person’s mental health, some studies maintain.

Emerging research has explored the link between omega-3s and cancer. Observational studies have linked diets rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids with a lower risk of breast cancer. Some molecular studies have suggested that omega-3s may stop cancer by activating the body’s natural pain-killers.

Now, experiments in mice add to the mounting evidence that dietary omega-3s may have cancer-fighting properties. In a new paper published in the Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, researchers fed two groups of adult female rodents nearly identical diets. However, one group ate a diet rich in olive oil-derived omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, whereas the other group received food containing omega-3-rich fish oil.

Then, the researchers injected the mice with 4T1 breast cancer cells, which cause tumors to spread quickly to the breast glands. Furthermore, 4T1 cells can spontaneously migrate to other sites, such as bone, the lungs, and liver.

After 35 days, the researchers sacrificed and autopsied the mice, revealing the effects of the two diets. In the rodents that received fish oil, the breast cancer cells were “significantly” less likely to have spread to the breast glands. The tumors that did develop in the breast glands also grew a lot more slowly. The breast gland tumors in the omega-3 group were 50% smaller than those in the omega-6 group and these rodents also had better survival rates.

My Take:
As noted in the introduction to this study, “a vast body of research hails the benefits of a diet fish in omega-3 fatty acids.” Despite all this data, I ran across another opinion article by a physician this morning taunting “more bad news about supplements.”

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential. We cannot manufacture them in our bodies, they must be in the diet. Both are used to make anti-inflammatory compounds. However, the omega-6 fatty acids can be shunted into the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid pathway by any aspects of metabolic syndrome – obesity, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, hypertension, and/or high serum lipids.

Bottom Line:
You must have a balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Naturally occurring omega-3s have become less common in our diet while the omega-6s have increased. Please supplement your diet with an omega-3 fatty acid pearl. I recommend two per day with meals to aid in absorption.

Source: October 11, 2018 NIH

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