Omega-3 Intake Linked to Higher Survival Rates in Colorectal Cancer
Researchers found that patients who consumed at least 300mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day were 41% less likely do die of their disease than those who consumed less.
This new research was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Gut. The study included over 1600 patients tracked for 10 years. The reduced risk was associated with omega-3 PUFAs from both food and fish oil supplements. The researchers noted that many people used dietary omega-3s as their primary source.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are called PUFAs, or polyunsaturated fatty acids, and are considered an essential fatty acid. They are essential because our bodies need them to function correctly, but we lack the ability to manufacture them. We must obtain omega-3s from our diet (or supplements). Omega-3s have many functions in the body, but their most important use is in combating inflammation.
In our bodies we are supposed to have a healthy balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-6 fatty acids are very prevalent in the modern diet and serve as the base molecule for the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. The omega-3s on the other hand have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. When there are more omega-6s than omega-3s in the diet, the body tends towards a higher level of inflammation. When omega-3 intake is adequate the anti-inflammatory effect these fats produce can reduce the effect of the pro-inflammatory omega-6s. It is likely the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3s that led to better survival statistics in this latest study.
Modern science, naturopathic wisdom, and anthropological data suggest a ratio of 1:1 omega-3s to omega-6s in our bodies. Unfortunately most people arent even close to this level. In clinical practice I have often measured a persons ratio of omega-3s as part of a comprehensive naturopathic health check-up (which I think everyone should do- along with annual vitamin D3 testing). People not making the effort to include omega-3s into their diet almost invariably show low levels.
This new study is very important finding and all people fighting cancer need to know about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. A 41% reduced risk of dying is big deal. In fact, omega-3s are so important that everyone concerned about maintaining optimal health should be making an effort to consume an adequate amount. These fats are not just important for fighting cancer, but also for preventing it. They have also been proven to help prevent and treat heart disease, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, and more. Foods high in omega-3s include salmon, flax seed, chia seed (see our Chia Seed Pudding recipe).
High-grade medical supplements can also be used to obtain healthy levels of omega-3s. It is important to only use quality supplements. There is no real regulation on supplements and what is on the label is sometimes not what is in the bottle. Make sure you check with your naturopathic doctor for suggestions on which brands of supplements are best.
Longevity Medical offers alternative cancer treatment and is located in Phoenix, Arizona.
Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Psenka