Harvard University researchers looked at 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors such as tobacco smoking and high blood pressure, and used a mathematical model to determine how many fatalities could have been prevented if better practices had been observed.
The study determined that there were 72,000-96,000 preventable deaths each year due to omega-3 deficiency, highlighting the importance of establishing a dietary reference intake (DRI) for omega-3 forms such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Another study found that a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) decreased blood pressure and heart rate in kidney disease patients.
People with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which increases the risk of heart disease, experienced improvements in both blood pressure and heart rate following supplementation with four grams of omega-3 fats.
Furthermore, when the omega 3’s were taken in combination with coenzyme Q10, the blood pressure reducing benefits were enhanced. CKD is linked to increased prevalence in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events and hospitalization.
In addition to benefitting your physical health, omega-3 fats can also be good for your mind.
Researchers have shown that depressed patients have, on average, lower levels of omega-3 in their blood than nondepressed individuals. A greater severity of depression is also linked to lower levels of omega-3. A number of well-controlled depression treatment studies have found therapeutic benefits following omega-3 supplementation.
As these three recent studies show, omega-3 deficiency can cause or contribute to serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year.
Compare that to the estimated 40,000 women who die from breast cancer each year in the U.S. and the implications of omega-3 deficiency becomes quite clear. As mentioned above, omega-3 deficiency is likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans.
Why You Don’t Want to Be Deficient in Omega-3’s
Last year, three other studies also highlighted the vital importance of omega-3 fats for optimal health, underscoring the importance of maintaining a high dietary omega-3 intake throughout your life.
The results showed that low concentrations of EPA and DHA resulted in an increased risk of death from all causes and accelerated cognitive decline. Those suffering from depression have also been found to have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood than nondepressed individuals.
It’s even been found to save the lives of children suffering from short bowel syndrome (SBS), and tests on children with learning disabilities has shown omega-3 to be an effective treatment.
So the benefits of omega-3 fats truly run the gamut, from mental and behavioral health at any age, to preventing premature death from any number of diseases, including:
Coronary heart disease and stroke
Essential fatty acid deficiency in infancy (retinal and brain development)
Autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus and nephropathy)
Cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate
Omega-3 Deficiency May Also Spur Breast Cancer
Dietary fat intake has been one of the most widely studied dietary risk factors for both breast- and prostate cancers.
Two studies from 2002 offer explanations for how omega-3 fats can protect against breast cancer. BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) are two tumor suppressor genes that, when functioning normally, help repair DNA damage (a process that also prevents tumor development).
Earlier research had discovered that women who carry mutated versions of these two genes are at higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer than women who do not have these genetic mutations. Currently, women with BRCA1 mutations account for about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats have been found to influence these two genes.
Omega-3 fats tend to reduce cancer cell growth while highly processed and toxic omega-6 fats have been found to cause cancer growth.tend to reduce cancer cell growth while highly processed and toxic have been found to cause cancer growth.
So considering the fact that omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for two of our deadliest diseases: cancer and heart disease, it’s no wonder the latest statistic shows omega-3 deficiency may be responsible for a staggering nearly 100,000 deaths per year.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—What You Need to Know
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s review some of the most important cancer prevention strategies.
When it comes to cancer, there’s simply no ignoring the impact of your lifestyle choices.
Even the American Institute for Cancer Research states that about one-third of cancers could be prevented by:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating healthy
Part of a healthy lifestyle is making sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats such as krill oil, and optimizing your vitamin D levels.
These two components should be at the top of your list if you want to dramatically improve your health and prevent a vast array of diseases.
Just as with omega-3 fats, there’s overwhelming evidence showing that optimizing your vitamin D levels is imperative for cancer prevention. If health officials would just recommend that you get some sensible sun exposure, use a safe tanning bed, or supplement with oral vitamin D3 if you can’t get out into the sun, there could be major advances made in the fight against cancer.
It is estimated that a standard recommendation like that could potentially cut cancer rates in half! I can’t think of ANY other intervention that could possibly come close to that.
Vitamin D protects against cancer in several ways, including:
Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
One recent study also points out vitamin D’s potential in treating breast cancer; not just in preventing it. Researchers found that calcitrol (the active form of vitamin D) can induce a tumor-suppressing protein that inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells specifically.
Why Mammograms are NOT Your Best Option
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women get a mammogram every year or two after age 40, but I strongly disagree with this recommendation.
The benefits of mammograms are highly controversial, while the risks are well established. A startling study published in The Lancet in 2001 concluded that previous research showing a benefit of yearly mammograms was flawed, and that widespread mammogram screening is unjustified.
Specifically, the Danish researchers argued that earlier studies in Europe and North America were improperly randomized and that they used a faulty definition of breast cancer survival.
John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. -- a nuclear physicist and a medical doctor, and one of the leading experts in the world on the dangers of radiation -- presents compelling evidence in his book, Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease, that over 50 percent of the death-rate from cancer is in fact induced by x-rays.
Now consider the fact that the routine practice of taking four films of each breast annually results in approximately one rad (radiation absorbed dose) exposure, which is about 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray.
If you’re premenopausal your breast is more sensitive to radiation, and each one rad exposure can increase your breast cancer risk by about 1 percent. So in 10 years of screening, you can accumulate a 10 percent increased risk for each breast.
Even the American Cancer Society lists high-dose radiation to the chest as a medium to high risk factor for developing cancer.
Additionally, radiation risks are about four times greater for the 1 to 2 percent of women who are silent carriers of the A-T (ataxia-telangiectasia) gene, which by some estimates accounts for up to 20 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed annually.
When everything is taken into account, reducing exposure to medical radiation such as unnecessary mammograms would actually likely reduce mortality rates.
The Safest Option for Regular Breast Cancer Screening
The option for breast screening that I most highly recommend is called thermography.
Thermography scans are absolutely painless and risk-free. They involve no compression of tissue, are non-invasive, and emit no radiation.
Thermography uses an infrared camera to graphically illustrate skin temperature by way of a color image. On the image, degrees of heat appear as different colors. Standard diagnostic tests such as mammograms, x-rays, MRI’s, ultrasounds and CAT scans are designed to test your anatomy. By contrast, thermography tests for physiological change and metabolic processes.
Your skin temperature patterns are indicators of metabolic activity in different parts of your body. Disturbances in your body’s metabolic processes appear via thermal imaging as areas of inflammation, degeneration and/or blockage. Left untreated, these metabolic and cellular stresses often show up in the form of anatomical damage years later.
Thermography is an excellent choice as it can be used to detect, control and even prevent serious illness or disease that otherwise would not be diagnosed until it is well-advanced.
Remember, mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has been growing for years and reaches a certain size. Thermography, on the other hand, is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier, because it can image the early stages of angiogenesis (the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size).
Thermography allows you to detect the beginnings of disease sooner, which offers you far more time to take appropriate treatment steps to help your body heal, and thereby prevent tumors from occurring.
You can find out more about thermography at my Thermography Diagnostics Center.
Take Control of Your Health
I hope that at some point in the near future, cancer prevention and treatment will shift focus from the current allopathic view that is so focused on drugs, surgery, and questionable screening protocols.
The evidence that a healthy diet, physical exercise, and appropriate sun exposure can prevent much of the cancers we have today is already available.
We just need to act on that knowledge.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for conventional medicine to change. You can take control of your own health and significantly reduce your cancer risk simply by implementing the lifestyle changes discussed above. And when it’s time to get a cancer screen, you now know there’s a safer, more effective alternative to conventional mammograms.