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Omega 3 fatty acids prevent breast cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Monday Oct 8, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking long chain omega 3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may likely help prevent breast cancer, an animal model study in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests.

M.B. Maclennan at Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph in Guelph, ON, Canada and colleagues conducted the study and found mice prone to developing breast cancer reduced tumor volume and multiplicity if they ate a diet supplemented with n-3 PUFAs.

Both observational and experimental studies suggest that taking long chain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of breast cancer, but there is no direct evidence to prove the association between intake of n-3 fatty acids and risk of breast cancer is a causal relationship, according to the researchers.

For the study, fat-1 Mice that were able to produce n-3 PUFA synthesis, were bred with mice with mouse mammary tumor virus which can cause aggressive breast cancer.  The resulting offspring were kept to assess tumor onset, size and multiplicity and n-3 PUFA content in mammary gland and tumor tissue.  Another group of mice with the virus were fed the diet supplemented with n-3 fatty acids.

Mice with omega 3 fatty acids produced but still developing breast cancer had the tumor volume reduced by 30 percent and multiplicity reduced by 33 percent.  Additionally, they reduced the presence of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and increased n-3 fatty acids in tumor phospholipids, compared to those that did not produce n- 3 fatty acids, but still developing breast cancer.

Similar reductions were observed in another group of mice that ate the diet supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids , but still developed breast cancer.

The study suggests that taking long chain omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may help prevent breast cancer. In this study, the growth or breast cancer was slowed.   The best dosage needs to be determined to see if breast cancer can be completely stopped.

Long chain n- 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids -  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish oil.

Years ago, a case study led by University of Neveda researchers showed an elderly man cured his lung cancer with high doses of DHA along with other nutrients.

Numerous studies have pointed to the possibility that n-3 fat can help prevent breast cancer and some other types of cancer while omega 6 may promote cancer growth.   The gentleman who had high lung cancer cured was advised not to use soybean oil and corn oil because of the concern about n-6 fatty acids in them.

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