The Potential Benefits Of Omega-3 Fats Against Cancer

Published: 2013-09-25, Last Modified:

While medical science continues to seek truly effective cancer treatments, the end of cancer as an often-deadly disease is still not within the reach of humanity. As a consequence, prevention is still one of the most effective approaches to cancer. Because of this, seeking simple ways to reduce cancer risk is something of benefit to all of us. One example of a potential risk reducer is the consumption of a type of a fat known as omega-3 fatty acids.

For those who do not know, these fats, a form of polyunsaturated or good fat, can be found in fatty fish such as trout, tuna, and salmon, as well as in nuts, oils, vegetables and seeds.

Research scientists have gained evidence that individuals who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, have a reduced risk for developing several forms of cancer. As well, it seems that these fats can also improve the efficiency of cancer treatments. Other research has highlighted that a diet rich in fish oil can delay tumor growth. Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids can also boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and minimize the side effects caused by cancer therapy.

Omega-3 Fats May Protect Against Cancer

In comparison to their ability to prevent cancer, much more is known about omega-3 fatty acids in other areas of health. These fats can protect the heart against disease and preserve brain function. Researchers are also trying to determine whether or not these fats are able to suppress eye diseases, age-related mental disorders, arthritis, and several other conditions.

In terms of their ability to prevent cancer, the capacity of these fats in reducing cancer risk is likely based on numerous factors. For instance, these fatty acids are thought to reduce the formation of the natural chemicals called enzymes that support cancer cell multiplication. According to research from the Queen Mary University of London, these fats may also be able to promote cancer cell death and obstruct the creation of the blood vessels that are needed by cancer cells in order to grow and reproduce.


Unfortunately, at this point there is insufficient scientific evidence to establish whether consuming fatty fish or taking different fish oil supplements can help to treat those who are already suffering from cancer. However, research from Marshall University has revealed that adding omega-3 fats to a diet can help sufferers bear chemotherapy easier. Other studies indicate that consuming fatty fish can help individuals preserve muscle mass and weight.

Consuming The Right Mix Of Omega-3 And Other Fats

Apart from consuming omega-3 fatty acids, individuals should also include other fats in their diet. Research from numerous organizations including the The Center For Genetics in Washington has shown that the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is essential when it comes to reducing cancer risk. This is because of the way that each of these fats interact with the naturally occurring enzymes in the body.

For example, if the enzymes interact with omega-3 fatty acids, they will generate useful molecules that have anti-inflammatory characteristics and promote cancer cell death. On the other hand, when these same enzymes interact with excessive omega-6 fatty acids, the enzymes can promote inflammation, reduce cancer cell death and foster cancer cell growth.

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Category: Disease Prevention, Medical Research

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