Posts Tagged ‘omega3 benefits for breast cancer’

Omega 3 : omega 6 – the rise of chronic disease and illness

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

The human body can synthesise all fatty acids with the exception of omega3 and omega 6 . They are known as essential fatty acids or EFA’S they are the building blocks of cell membranes – brain tissue and nerve tissue – they are essential for the functioning of every cell in your body .They help protect against chronic health conditions and disease , they repair degenerative cells and ensure that the body is fuelled properly . The ideal scenario would be to have a ratio of 1:1 omega 6 : omega 3 this however as we shall see is not the case and the actual ratio in UK , USA , UAE and countries following a westernised diet maybe as much as 25 : 1 omega 6 : omega 3 .

To put this in perspective taking breast cancer as an example studies have shown that an excessive food based intake of Omega – 6( linoleic acid ) is linked to some forms of breast cancer , in subjects whose breast tissue contains high levels of omega-3 they appear to be less prone to this form of cancer which affects 1 in 8 women.

In order to maintain levels of these very important EFA’s you have to take them from food sources – what has happened in the last Century is that there has been an increase in the consumption of Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and a decrease in consumption of Omega 3 ( alpha linoleic acid )

Fats can be divided into two groups saturated and unsaturated fatty acids . Saturated fats are from animals sources , unsaturated fats are your omega 3 , omega 6 and omega 9 . Omega 9 is also known as Oleic acid .

Omega 6 is converted in your body into arachodonic acid (AA) Omega 3 is converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) the secret to good health is to have a balance between the omega 6 and omega 3 . Unfortunately in our modern diet we consume too much omega 6 and too little omega 3 and it is this inbalance that has resulted in so many of the health problems affecting the population . Part of the problem is the intense farming methods and what we feed animals on as well as that a lot of fish in fish farms are fed an artificial diet so the farmed fish contains less omega 3 than wild cold water fish which feeds on krill . The most common source s of omega 6 in our modern diet is sunflower oil , corn oil , groundnut oil , hemp , safflower and soya oils . These oils are used extensively in the modern food industry just look at the labels of the food you buy – bread , pizza, margarines , ready meals .

A diet high in omega 6 is one that is pro inflammatory – this is due to the fact your body produces more prostaglandins which promote inflammation – inflammation is what precedes disease and many diseases are aggrevated by inflammation ie arthritis , type 2 diabetes , IBD , psoriasis etc . With the western diet showing a ratio of around 25: 1 omega 6 (pro inflammatory ) : omega 3 (anti inflammatory ) it is easy to see what has gone wrong and why we have the increase in so many chronic conditions .

The simple solution is obviously to increase intake of the anti inflammatory omega 3 – EPA and DHA and decrease intake of the pro inflammatory omega 6 sunflower oils , corn oil etc . Very often the simplest way is for most people is to take an omega3 supplement however due to the clever marketing of the companies finding the right supplement is difficult .

You need a supplement that is high in active ingredients specifically EPA which is believed to be the most potent natural anti inflammatory . Takeomega3 has 800mg EPA per capsule which is far in excess of any other omega3 product on shelf – surprisingly the brands advertising 1000mg omega3 are only 30% active ingredients and the other 70% is fat which you dont need !! ., TakeOmega 3 is 90% active ingredients. Research has shown that for an omega3 supplement to be effective it needs to be 80% active ingredients none of the brands on UK shelves offer this . They label highest concentration , pure omega3 , 1000mg omega3 but at the end of the day they are lowin the active ingredients and as a result are not effective . Why waste money on a product that could be as much as 80% fat that you dont need ?

Omega 3 Fish Oil may reduce risk of ductul breast cancer by a third.

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The first study of its kind has revealed that postmenopausal women who took the omega 3 supplements reduced risk by a third. Omega 3 products with high levels of EPA which is a key anti inflammatory are the key. The TakeOmega 3 brand is an 85% medical grade omega3 fish oil with 750mg EPA and 50 mg DHA per capsule , other brands may have as little as 150mg EPA . Obviously further investigation needs to be conducted however if this is the case at £13.00 for a months supply it works out at 43p per day !!

The research, which involved 35,000 women and took six years to complete, has caused such excitement among experts that they are calling for larger and more detailed studies to urgently be carried out.

They hope that it may be possible to use fish oils as a way to help women slash their risk of suffering from breast tumours.

Fish Oil contains high levels of fatty acids  that can reduce inflammation. Studies have already suggested they may boost brain cells, keep eyes healthy and possibly protect against ageing.

But other studies have dismissed these claims, saying the evidence is still not there. The latest study, by a respected team in America, is the first to actively monitor women who take fish oils and see how many develop breast cancer

The team also looked at whether other supplements like St John’s Wort, soy and ginkgo biloba had any affect on the risk of tumours. All of the women in the study were between 50 and 76 and had been through the menopause.

They were asked if they had taken fish oils before or were taking them at the start of the study and how often they took them.

The team, whose study is published in the Journal of Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found 83 per cent took fish oils at least four times a week and 60 per cent daily. During the following six years, 880 suffered from breast cancer.

The data revealed that those who took fish oils at the start of the study had a 32 per cent reduced risk of ductal breast cancer, the most common form of the disease which affects eight in 10 sufferers.

However, there was no reduction in risk of lobular breast cancer that affects around one in 10 sufferers. Nor was there a reduced risk of women who had taken fish oils up to a decade earlier but stopped or those who took other supplements.

The team, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the findings were interesting but it was too early to say if the fish oil is responsible. Scientists believe fish oils might work by reducing inflammation which may prevent cells from becoming damaged and turning cancerous.

Previous studies on cells in the lab and on animals both suggest fish oils might be able to protect against cancer. Scientists are keen to find an answer because more and more people have been taking supplements for decades.

This means they have been used for long enough to gauge whether they are having a positive or negative effect on long-term health. So far British experts warn against taking multi-vitamins to protect against cancer, with some warning they may increase the risk.

But the evidence on fish oils is less clear.Dr Panagiota Mitrou, deputy head of science for the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “The findings are very interesting because it is the first time fish oil has been linked to lower breast cancer risk in this type of study.

“But as the authors suggest, because this is a single study the findings are not enough for us to be confident that women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by taking fish oil supplements. More research is now needed to find out if this is actually the case.

“There is already very strong scientific evidence about how women can reduce their breast cancer risk. In fact scientists estimate that about 40 per cent of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented through being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the alcohol they drink.”

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