Postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 76 who took fish oil were 32 percent less likely to develop certain types of breast cancer than women who didn’t, according to a recent study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The study used surveys and included roughly 35,000 women without breast cancer living in Washington state. The participants completed surveys between 2000 and 2002, answering questions about their past and present supplement use, medical history, and lifestyle. Over the next six years, 880 of the study participants (roughly 2.5 percent) were diagnosed breast cancer. The women who were taking fish oil when the study began had a lower risk of developing the most common form of breast cancer called invasive ductal carcinoma.
While the researchers noted this was simply observational research, and that more is necessary before we can assume a causal relationship, it’s an important first step. From cnn.com:
Still, it’s plausible that fish oil could lower breast cancer risk. The unsaturated fatty acids in the oil are believed to tamp down inflammation, which plays a role in some cancers as well as heart disease. Fish oil supplements, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and triglycerides (a type of blood fat), are most commonly taken to improve heart health.
The new findings “reinforce something that most of us feel in our hearts but are struggling to prove,” says Dr. David Pearlstone, M.D., chief of the division of breast surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey. “Fish oil probably is really good for you in a lot of ways, but the data has been [slow] in coming.”
If you are a fan of fish, then this yet another reason to continue eating your wild caught fatty fish like salmon. And note – the “wild caught” part is absolutely necessary. If you’re eating farm raised fish, you’re likely getting higher levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids instead of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 in the wild caught variety. If you’re not a big fatty fish fan, I recommenced Wholemega from New Chapter. I’ve blogged and podcasted about it in the past. Basically, when you take a softgel of Wholemega you’re getting the closest thing to wild-caught Alaskan salmon.