A recent study from the University of Guelph is said to be the first of its kind to provide “unequivocal” evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids can actually prevent cancer, specifically breast cancer. The study found that a lifelong diet rich in omega 3’s can actually inhibit breast cancer tumor growth by a whopping 30%.
Omega-3 Consumption Dramatically Reduces Breast Cancer Risk, Development
Accordingly, a swell in omega-3 supplements began popping up, and people began taking them without fully knowing if they would work or what they were preventing. As time has passed, however, research on the fats has evolved and we are beginning to see more clearly the power of these essential fatty acids and exactly what they are capable of.
The latest study, published in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, determined that a lifelong diet rich in omega-3 fats could prevent breast cancer. The study ruled out other potential preventative factors and isolated omega-3s as the source of a decreased breast cancer risk.
“It’s a significant finding,” said David Ma of the Guelph’s Department of Human Health and Nutritional Services. “We show that lifelong exposure to omega-3s has a beneficial role in disease prevention—in this case, breast cancer prevention. What’s important is that we have proven that omega-3s are the driving force and not something else.”
Making these sort of conclusions is not easy. And though many studies have linked omega-3s to disease prevention in the past, this is believed to be the first that can ‘state its findings with certainty’.
“To our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer,” said Ma.
The researchers created a transgenic mouse—one that produces omega 3 fatty acids and also develops aggressive breast tumors. They then compared the mice to those who developed breast tumors without omega-3 fats.
They found that those mice who produced the beneficial fats developed 30% fewer tumors and tumors that were also 30% smaller than the control mice.
“The difference can be solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice—that’s significant,” concluded Ma.
While this particular study cannot be adapted for humans, it does provide some evidence that having a steady supply of omega-3 fats could reduce breast cancer risk.
Omega-3 fats, like other nutrients, are best obtained through natural foods rather than supplements. Good sources of the fats include fatty fish like salmon and sardines as well as walnuts and flax seeds.
For other ways to prevent breast cancer, check out these 5 breast cancer prevention tips.