A group of Canadian researchers has demonstrated that lifelong exposure to omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent breast cancer, at least in mice. The investigators worked with mice bred to develop aggressive breast tumors and genetically engineered to produce their own omega-3 fatty acids. They compared their growth with a control group of mice bred to produce only the tumors. They found that the omega-3 mice developed only two-thirds as many breast cancers as the controls and that the tumors that did occur in this group were 30 percent smaller than those observed in the controls.

According to study leader David Ma, Ph.D., the difference in size and number of breast tumors that occurred in the two groups can be “solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice – that’s significant.” He added that “to our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer”. The study took place at Canada’s University of Guelph and was published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

My take? This good news seems to confirm earlier findings that omega-3 fats can help inhibit the growth of breast tumors and that high omega-3 fatty acid intake significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer. You can obtain these fats in your daily diet by eating cold-water fish (especially wild salmon and sardines), as well as freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts. I recommend that women who are concerned about the risk of breast cancer consider taking two grams of a high quality fish oil supplement daily.

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