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New drug for breast cancer: Fish oil?

Breast cancer accounts for more than 25 percent of all female cancers. It is also strongly linked to obesity, which means as the obesity crisis accelerates, we can expect to see an increase in breast cancer rates. Following a healthy anti-inflammatory diet can decrease your chances of becoming obese and ultimately help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Here’s how eating the right fats – omega 3s – can help you fend off this life-threatening disease.

Fish oil supplments

Causes of inflammation in the body

Both breast cancer and obesity are linked to cellular inflammation caused by a diet rich in refined carbohydrates and omega-6 fatty acids, and low in fruits and vegetables. Simply stated, an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids make you fat and increase the likelihood of breast cancer, whereas good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids can help keep you thin and decrease your chances of developing breast cancer.

The anti-inflammatory diet

I have always recommended an anti-inflammatory diet, consisting primarily of low-glycemic carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) balanced with protein at every meal. Additionally, dramatically limiting your intake of vegetable oils that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids also helps to maintain a healthy diet. If this is too hard to implement, then try this simpler change: Consider adding a supplement of purified fish to your daily intake.

Omega-3s reduce the risk of breast cancer

According to an article from the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects at high risk of developing breast cancer were given various doses of omega-3 fatty acids ranging from 1 to 7 grams per day for six months. Although the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids stabilized after 30 days, the amount of the omega-3s in the breast tissue continued to increase in a dose-dependent manner during this time – illustrating that the higher dose was having the greatest impact in changing the fatty acid composition in the breast.

Earlier research has indicated that the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the breast tissue is pretty clear; the higher the omega-3 content, the lower the risk of developing breast cancer. From this new study, it appears that five to seven grams of day of purified omega-3 fatty acids are required to have an impact on the levels of the fatty acid composition in the breast tissue of high-risk women. Perhaps not too surprisingly, these results are very close to my recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids that in the book, The Omega Rx Zone.

It should also be pointed out that the researchers in this study refused to include a placebo group using omega-6 fatty acids because of the risk that it would increase the likelihood of “turning on” inflammatory genes that might lead to the development of breast cancer in these subjects.

One simple dietary change to fight breast cancer

Consider making a simple dietary change to reduce your risk of breast cancer: Replace vegetable oils with extra virgin olive oil that is low in omega-6s, and add in fish oil rich in omega-3s to help enhance your diet.

More ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer gives you a few tips on how to reduce your risk of getting the second most common cancer, breast cancer!

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