These days, it seems that a week’s worth of health news wouldn’t be complete without a mention of omega-3 fatty acids. Found in fish oil, one of the world’s most medicinal natural foods, omega-3 has been again tied to possible cancer treatment. This time, researchers have found that the fats could be a safe and effective boost for breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year. Being exposed to estrogen over a long period of time is one risk factor. One method to alleviate this risk is to take the breast cancer drug “tamoxifen.” The new study has found that omega-3 fatty acids — now one of the most common herbal remedies taken — could boost tamoxifen’s effect.
Researchers tested the idea on rats, feeding them either a 17% fish oil diet, with or without tamoxifen, or a 20% corn oil diet, with or without tamoxifen, for two months. They found that the omega-3s produced certain measures in the rats’ cells that showed a less severe cancer than the corn oil. The combination of fish oil and tamoxifen reduced the risk of tumors growing and spreading.
Essentially, the fish oil seemed to make the tumor more benign, less aggressive — and more responsive to the tamoxifen drug. As well, it seemed to boost the body’s immune defenses against tumors.
More studies are of course needed to fully understand the effects of fish oil on the immune system. Meanwhile, since fish oil is inherently so healthful for people, women with breast cancer or those at risk can speak to their doctor about safely introducing it into their daily rituals.
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been linked to a healthier cardiovascular system, as well as to helping the body shield itself from an assortment of health issues. It is an essential ingredient in a natural food of great importance to staying healthy.