Researchers asked more than 35,000 postmenopausal women who did not have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their use of supplements.
Regular use of fish oil supplements, which contain high levels of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, was linked with a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.
"The reduction in risk appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease. The use of other specialty supplements, many of which are commonly taken by women to treat symptoms of menopause, was not associated with breast cancer risk."
Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer, and this latest study found that by simply supplementing your diet with animal-based omega-3 fats you may reduce your breast cancer risk by 32 percent.
Considering that breast cancer is now one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world, simple interventions like this one could save countless numbers of lives.
While this is the first study to link omega-3 supplementation with a decreased risk of invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type, it only adds to growing research highlighting the important health benefits of omega-3 fats.
A Powerful Cancer Fighter
Dietary fat intake has been one of the most widely studied dietary risk factors for breast cancer.
In 2002, for instance, two studies showed that omega-3 fats influence two genes involved in keeping breast cancer at bay. BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) are 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 fats have been found to influence these two genes, while reducing cancer cell growth.
In fact, research into the cancer preventive effects of omega-3 first began because it was observed that Inuit Eskimo populations, who eat a diet naturally high in animal-based omega-3 fats, had lower rates of breast and prostate cancers.
Today we now know that this healthy fat is good for so many aspects of health, it can actually reduce your risk of death from virtually every (disease-related) cause!
Reduce Your Risk of Death from ALL Causes …
Animal-based omega-3 deficiency was recently revealed as the sixth biggest killer of Americans, responsible for up to 96,000 premature deaths each year, so increasing your omega-3 intake could very well be a life-saving strategy for many, even above and beyond breast cancer.
The results of three studies published in 2008 also mirrored these results, indicating that low concentrations of EPA and DHA resulted in an increased risk of death from ALL causes, and accelerated cognitive decline. 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)
- Crohn's disease
- Cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate
- Mild hypertension
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Fortunately, the health benefits of omega-3s are slowly permeating the mainstream, but most people still fail to consume sufficient quantities of this essential fat.
How to Easily and Effectively Increase Your Omega-3 Fat Levels
Optimizing your animal-based omega-3 fat intake is very easy, provided you choose the best source of animal-based omega-3 fats.
Ideally you would receive all the animal-based omega-3s you'd need from eating seafood. Unfortunately, industrial pollution has changed the landscape, turning most of the world's waters, and the seafood it contains, more or less toxic.
Because of the increasing difficulty in assuring the purity of fish and other seafood, the next best thing is to take a supplement. However, fish oil also has its drawbacks, both in terms of purity and effectiveness, and evidence suggests that there may be even better sources of animal-based omega-3 fats.
My personal favorite is krill oil.
Krill oil, like fish oil, contains omega-3 fats such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). However, in fish oil, these omega-3 fats are found in a triglyceride molecule that has to be broken down in your gut into its base fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Because of this, about 80-85 percent of it is never absorbed and instead is eliminated in your intestine. This is what causes about 50 percent of people to "burp up" the fish oil taste and not tolerate fish oil well at all.
Once the fatty acids are absorbed into your bloodstream your liver then has to attach it to phoshphatidyl choline molecule for it to be used by your body. The amazing beauty of krill oil is that they come right out of the bottle in the form your body can immediately use, phospholipid structure. Your body doesn't process it at all and uses virtually 100% of the DHA and EPA.
Unpublished new data suggests krill oil is actually absorbed 10-15 times better than fish oil.
Additionally, krill oil has the powerful antioxidant Astaxanthin, which prevents the perishable DHA and EPA from going rancid. The vast majority of fish oil being sold is actually rancid before you even open the bottle, as it doesn't contain this antioxidant.
Krill oil also seems to work at a lower dose, so you may only need one 500 mg capsule per day, making it far more effective and affordable than fish oil.
16 More Breast Cancer Prevention Tools
Omega-3 fats are certainly not the only nutrients or strategy that has been linked to a lowered risk of breast cancer. Other important tools, which will also lower the risk of prostate cancer in men, include:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels with appropriate sun exposure. Ideally, it would be best to monitor your vitamin D levels. I believe it is virtually criminal negligent malpractice not to regularly, perhaps every week or two, monitor vitamin D levels and get them around 55-70 ng/ml.
- Control your fasting insulin levels, and be sure to limit your intake of processed foods. Again this is a very simple and inexpensive blood test to easily perform.
- Eliminate sugar as much as possible as it's been shown again and again that sugar feeds cancer. Fructose is especially problematic so also be sure to limit your fructose intake.
- Eat broccoli and/or cauliflower sprouts, depending on your nutritional type.
- Consume fresh vegetable juice daily, also according to your nutritional type -- including one small tomato (lycopene).
- Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats such as krill oil, and reduce your intake of omega-6 oils.
- Consume a high-quality source of plant-based omega-3 fats. My favorite is chia seeds but you can use freshly ground flaxseeds. It is important to grind flax fresh every day. Do NOT use pre-ground flax. If you have some already, throw it out, as you can be guaranteed it is rancid. It goes bad within hours of grinding it.
- Selenium - 400 mcg per day.
- Vitamin E - 400 units per day. (Please note: Only natural vitamin E should be used, not synthetic. Additionally, mixed tocopherol is more preferable than alpha-tocopherol, as the gamma tocopherols are particularly useful antioxidants.)
- Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them. Better yet, eat as many of your foods raw as you can.
- Get appropriate exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
- Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My favorite tool, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
- Get enough high-quality sleep.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and sources of heavy metals.
- Reduce your exposure to EMFs like cell and portable phones.
- Check your ferritin level and make sure you don't have iron excess as this can clearly increase your risk of cancer.