The other day, a friend of mine told me his dear friend has leukemia. Whenever I hear about a new leukemia diagnosis, my heart breaks. Leukemia isn’t like most cancers. Rather than having a measurable tumor in a specific site of the body, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow. It can spread throughout your body almost instantly through your marrow. And it can spread to other organs of the body very quickly. What’s worse, it carries a high fatality rate for those over 60.
For leukemia, prevention is a must. And a new study on fish oil gives hope that prevention is possible.
Researchers from Penn State University found that a compound in fish oil targets leukemia stem cells. The researchers were so impressed with the results, they believe the discovery could lead to a cure for the disease. The compound is an extract from EPA. This is the component of fish oil that many studies say is highly beneficial.
The researchers called this molecule delta-12-protaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3. They said it targets and kills the stem cells of chronic myelogenous leukemia. This is a common form of the disease.
In this mouse study, the researchers gave each mouse about 600 nanograms of D12-PGJ3 by injection each day for a week. According to ScienceDaily, “Tests showed that the mice were completely cured of the disease. The blood count was normal, and the spleen returned to normal size. The disease did not relapse.”
The researchers found that the D12-PGJ3 killed the cancer-causing stem cells in the mice’s spleen and bone marrow. The molecule activates the gene p53. This gene is responsible for programming normal cell death (apoptosis).
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You can be sure drug company researchers will look for ways to turn this molecule into a drug and promote it as a cure for this devastating disease. But you don’t have to wait for the drug to prevent leukemia.
While we don’t have enough studies to say fish oil by itself can prevent the disease, the authors of the study said there are no side effects from the natural fat compound. And we know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart and brain health. So it makes sense to take fish oil for these health conditions anyway. Now we know there may be an added the benefit of preventing leukemia.
Most studies recommend taking at least 500 mg of EPA daily. Just make sure your source of the molecule is pure. Many fish oils contain contaminates. A great source of EPA is Complete Daily Oils from Advanced Bionutritionals.
Your insider for better health,
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.
Penn State (2011, December 22). Possible cure for leukemia found in fish oil.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com- /releases/2011/12/111222103112.htm.