An Omega-3 That Combats Cancer?

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We usually think of fat as an unhealthy topic. And, in relation to obesity, extra fat can certainly be harmful to your body. 

But, not all types of fat are created equal. 

Some fats are not only good, they are essential, your body needing them to function properly. 

But, aside from proper functioning, findings from recent studies are now showing some fats to be ‘natural born killers.’ In fact, if their findings benefit the world in the way researchers hope, perhaps Woody Harrelson will even star in a sequel to the 1994 film…omega style! 😉

Fat in a good role as a killer? That’s right! New research findings suggest a specific omega-3 fatty acid may be the key to defeating…killing…cancer!

Worldwide, one out of every six deaths can be attributed to cancer. That’s 26,000 cancer-related deaths daily! 

So then, just what kind of fat can combat numbers like that? 


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DHA – An Essential Omega 

Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, therefore they must be consumed through either foods or supplements. 

But, despite the inability of our bodies to produce them on their own, these fatty acids are routinely the center of much talk when it comes to health and wellness.

Why? 

Omega 3s are a fundamental part of the cell membranes throughout your body, affecting the function of the receptors within those membranes.  

They are the starting point for producing hormones that are tasked with blood clotting, and they regulate the contraction and relaxation within the walls of your arteries. 

Omega-3s also…

  • prevent irregular heartbeat
  • reduce the amount of plaque build up inside the walls of your arteries
  • increase good cholesterol
  • decrease blood fat
  • decrease inflammation

The three most important omegas are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). 

Of these three most important types of fatty acid, the most important is DHA. 

This omega-3 fatty acid (DHA) is primarily found in animal products such as grass fed meats, dairy, eggs, fatty fish, and fish oils.

You, therefore, increase DHA levels in your body by consuming these products or through supplementation. 

Within your body, DHA is an important part of the makeup of your brain and retinas. 

It also affects how fast, and how effective, your nerve cells can communicate. 

However, that only scratches the surface of just how much your body needs this essential fatty acid. 

Some other benefits of DHA include: 

  • Heart disease prevention
  • Improved concentration and attention
  • Anti-inflammatory effects on the body
  • May slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improved circulation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Ability to support reproductive health in men
  • Aids in post workout muscle recovery
  • May reduce the risk of some cancers

And, that last bit of info on the list of DHA benefits has just exploded due to recent findings from a study conducted in Belgium.


Research Regarding DHA For Tumor Treatment

New findings from research conducted at UC Louvain, one of the top private universities in Belgium, has shown DHA to slow the development of cancerous tumors. 

As DHA was commonly associated with reduced instances of cancer, researchers in Belgium set out to find out the reason for this link. 

In doing so, they were able to explain “the biochemical mechanism that allows DHA and other related fatty acids to slow the development of tumors.” 

Relying on multiple schools of thought, the research was conducted through multiple teams. 

In 2016, one team specializing in oncology found that cells within tumors, while in an acidic environment, replaced glucose with lipids for energy in order to multiply. 

Then, in 2020, another team discovered that these same cells were the most aggressive and obtained the ability to leave the original tumor and spread (metastasize). 

In the meantime, yet another team was evaluating the behavior of tumor cells in the presence of various fatty acids, and in doing so they determined the “acidotic tumor cells responded in diametrically opposite ways depending on the fatty acid they were absorbing.” 

In other words, this collaboration of research resulted in the following finding: some fatty acids stimulated the growth of tumors, and some stopped such growth. 

More specifically, DHA was found to basically poison, or kill, tumors! 

So, there’s the what…now on to the how…

This research discovered DHA to poison these tumor cells through a type of cell death known as ferroptosis. 

This type of cell death occurs when a chemical reaction takes place involving specific fatty acids. 

Typically, within the acidic part of a tumor, cells store fatty acids in clumps that protect them from oxidation. 

But here, when large amounts of DHA were present, the tumor cell was overburdened and therefore could not store the DHA, leading to oxidation and cell death. 

And even though this information was greatly encouraging, researchers needed to take this process a step further to see whether these findings would translate to true hope in the fight against cancer worldwide.

To do this, the research team used lipid metabolism inhibitors. In doing so, they found the effects of DHA on tumors amplified even greater.

To paint a rather awesome picture of these findings, the team used a 3D tumor cell culture system, also known as spheroids. When DHA was present, the spheroids grew and then completely imploded! 

The study was then furthered by administering diets enriched with DHA to mice with tumors. 

Here, researchers found the tumor development in these mice was slowed significantly compared to mice (also with tumors) that were fed a conventional diet. 

In other words…In both mice and men (or rather petri dishes) DHA was proven in this new and encouraging research to be a “natural born tumor killer!”

One noteworthy item in closing:

Studies reveal that people tend to only consume 50-100 mg of DHA daily. As this study centered around administrations of 250 mg daily, the average adult would be required to consume DHA in greater amounts to receive such cancer-combating benefits.  


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