On Monday, you saw the significant flaws of a recent study that connected fish oil to prostate cancer. As you may have heard, prostate cancer in men has many similarities (including causes) to breast cancer in women. So whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to know how fish oil affects your health. And a new study helps us understand just that.
As I said on Monday, other studies suggest that fish oil helps prevent prostate cancer. Well, this new study says fish oil also reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer.
In this study, researchers from China published their results in the prestigious British Medical Journal. They found that a high intake of fatty acids found in fish produces a 14% reduction in the risk of breast cancer later in life. I added the emphasis on "high" because the prostate cancer study found that high intake led to an increased risk. But we saw the problems with that study - there really wasn't any control on what "high" meant. Here we see that a controlled and measured "high" intake lowers your risk.
In this study, the researchers reviewed and analyzed 26 studies from the United States, Europe and Asia. All of these studies together involved over 800,000 participants and over 20,000 cases of breast cancer. While this isn't the strongest type of study, its results are powerful simply because of the large number participants and the consistent results.
As far as the "high" intake of fish, more was better. In fact, every 0.1 gram per day increase in the amount of omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil they took, their risk of breast cancer decreased by 5%. While more was better, the researchers didn't find a level where the fish oil became dangerous. They weren't looking for this level.
Their findings clearly show that fish oil does impact the progression of breast cancer. The authors concluded: "Our present study provides solid and robust evidence that marine n-3 PUFA are inversely associated with risk of breast cancer. The protective effect of fish or individual n-3 PUFA warrants further investigation of prospective studies." But that wasn't all. They also said that their findings "support a protective role of marine n-3 PUFA on the incidence of breast cancer."
Higher levels of fish oil intake would require you to eat several servings of fatty fish (salmon or trout) each week or take 2,000 mg of fish oil (EPA/DHA) daily (the amount you'll find in Daily Omega). This study (and the number of studies it included) gives significant weight to the position that fish oil will lower your risk for breast cancer and other cancers - including prostate cancer.
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Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.