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The cure for lung cancer may be in fish oil

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High doses of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish or fish oil or plant sources may help fight lung cancer, according to a case report published by researchers at the University of Nevada in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

Ron Pardini, biochemistry professor of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station and colleagues helped his neighbor "D.H." with terminal lung cancer defeat his disease, which doctors said would kill the 78 year-old man in a few months.

With high doses of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and low intake of omega-6 fatty acid known as linoleic acid, D.H. was still alive five years later at the time the report was published.

CT scans showed the gentleman developed a few tumors on the lungs. He refused to accept the conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Instead, he started a dietary regimen including taking high doses of DHA and EPA from fish oil and golden algae oil and avoiding intake of linoleic acid.

fatty_fish_small_wikipedia_193773017.jpgPrevious studies have found DHA and EPA inhibit cancer cell growth and people who eat lots of fish are less likely to develop cancers such breast cancer and prostate cancer.

As expected, the tumors in the man got shrunken and eventually disappeared after taking dietary supplements mainly DHA and EPA and avoiding vegetable oils which are high in the omega-6 fatty acid. 

The effective dose of DHA and EPA together to eliminate all tumors was 15 grams per day and the ratio of linoleic acid to omega -3 fatty acids was about 0.8 compared to more than 16 in most Americans.

Linoleic acid is found high in many vegetable oils, particularly in corn oil and very low in Canola oil and olive oil. This fatty acid has been found to promote tumor growth.  

Dr. Pardini's research on the anticancer effect of fish oil was inspired by observations that Inuit Eskimo populations have fewer breast and prostate cancer deaths.

This is the first case study of its kind in the US.  Animal models were commonly used to study the anticancer effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the past.

By David Liu

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