A clinical study conducted by French researchers showed that the Omega 3 essential fatty acid, which is derived from plants, may reduce the side effects of chemotherapy while enhancing its results in fighting breast cancer. This research was conducted on women with metastatic breast cancer (last phase) and showed that supplementation with Omega 3 almost doubled their chances of survival.
The researchers used a dose of 1800 mg (1.8 g) of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from seaweed during chemotherapy. DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid crucial to our health, especially for the brain. Our bodies need fat for the optimal functioning of the brain and cerebral cortex. Babies need DHA especially in the first six months of life for the proper development of the brain, eyes, and nervous system. The best sources of DHA are milk, fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring), fish oil and algae. It can also be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid. For the study, researchers used a type of DHA derived from marine algae, not fish. They found that tumor cells become more sensitive to chemotherapy when lipid membranes are fortified with DHA. This omega 3 acid weakens the defense capability of cancer cells.
Omega 3 Can Prevent Cancer and Other Diseases
Studies showed that women who have a high intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and marine omega 3 fatty acids -eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer compared to those with lower ratios. Omega 3 combats cancer by reducing chronic inflammation that restricts tumor growth and induces self-destruction of malignant cells. The benefits of omega 3 in preventing and increasing the survival rates in cancer patients have been discovered after a thorough observation of the Inuit Eskimo populations. Because of their diet rich in animal-based omega 3, they have lower rates of prostate and breast cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids can also prevent:
- Cancers of the colon and prostate
- Coronary heart disease and stroke
- Mild hypertension
- Retinal and brain under-development in infancy
- Autoimmune disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
Sources of Omega 3
Omega 3 can be found in various nuts and seeds, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds or walnuts and different types of seafood, including sardines, tuna, bluefish, salmon, mackerel, herring, oysters, caviar and cod. Although eating more fatty fish is recommended, some types of fish, such as tilefish, mackerel, shark and wild swordfish, also have high levels of PCBs, mercury, and other toxins. On the other hand, farm-raised fish might also have high levels of contaminants. That is why pregnant women and children should avoid these fish. Wild salmon and wild trout are safer.
You can also take fish oil and algae oil supplements but first, talk to your doctor to see what is the right dosage for you.
Whether you choose to increase your intake of fatty fish or take fish oil supplements, Omega 3 should be an important element in your diet if you want to be healthy.