I’ve been writing a good bit recently about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish like salmon. Most people know they dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. They also benefit brain health and help reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
And now — we know omega-3s even offer significant protection against cancer. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed.
For a new study, Harvard researchers analyzed data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and Health Professions Follow-up Study (HPFS).
Specifically, they looked at dietary habits and death rates in a cohort of 1,659 patients who developed colorectal cancer.
Overall, they found a strong link between higher omega-3 intake and lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer.
To be more specific, patients who consumed just 300 mg of omega-3s per day had a 41 percent lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer compared to those who consumed 100 mg per day. (More on the importance of dose in a moment.)
Furthermore, patients who began consuming more omega-3s after their diagnosis gained even greater protection…
Death rates slashed with higher omega-3 intake after diagnosis
After getting colon cancer, patients who increased their intake of omega-3s by at least 150 mg per day had a whopping 70 percent lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer.
So, clearly, it’s never too late to increase omega-3 intake. Even after developing cancer, patients still gained major benefits. Plus, there was a dose-response effect. In other words, the higher the dose of omega-3s, the lower the risk of dying.
This was an observational study. So, the researchers can’t explain exactly how or why omega-3 intake benefits colon cancer patients. But previous research shows the omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) can suppress tumor growth and curb blood supply to malignant cells (anti-angiogenesis).
Interestingly, in the study’s abstract, the researchers say, “the influence of omega-3s on colon cancer survival is unknown.”
The Harvard researchers’ own data clearly show omega-3s improve survival rates in patients with colorectal cancer.
Once again, we have researchers backing away from their own findings. This confuses the casual reader, who may walk away thinking omega-3s don’t do anything for cancer. Another reminder of the importance of reading past the headlines!
And before I go, just a note about dose…
This study found major benefits to colon cancer patients who just consumed a few hundred more milligrams of omega-3s per day. Even this miniscule amount increased survival rate by 41 to 70 percent!
But according to more recent research, I believe you should now aim to supplement with at least 3,000 to 4,000 mg of omega-3s per day.
Now, I know that dosage may sound high.
But remember, we need to think of omega-3s in food quantities, not in supplement quantities. And you get 3,000 to 4,000 mg when you eat a serving of fatty fish. So, it’s also the amount you should strive for when supplementing, unless you eat fish on a daily basis.
(If you do eat fish on a daily basis — or eat richer sources of omega-3s like anchovies or sardines at least two to three times per week — you can probably get along with a 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily dose.)
But remember — not all fish oil is created equal. Any omega-3 supplement formula you choose should contain both EPA and DHA, the active forms of the essential fatty acids.
I reveal all the latest tips for recognizing a high-quality fish oil supplement and getting the right doses in the lead story of the upcoming June 2018 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. And in that article, I’ll also tell you all about all the new research that led to these higher dosage recommendations for omega-3s. Not yet a subscriber? No problem. Just click here.)
In the meantime, many natural approaches prevent — and reverse — cancer, in addition to omega-3s. And you can learn all about them in my online learning tool, the Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. Click here for more information or to enroll today.
“Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis,” Gut. 2017 Oct; 66(10): 1790–1796
Lower risk of bowel cancer death linked to high omega 3 intake after diagnosis, Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com) 7/19/2016