Omega-3s May Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Obese Women
A study conducted at Penn College of Medicine in Hershey, PA, and published in Cancer Prevention Research has suggested that obese women could lower their risk of breast cancer through the administration of omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids are found in fish oil as well as some plant and nut oils, and are believed to convey several health benefits – like reduced risk of coronary heart disease and improved cholesterol levels.
All study participants had a high breast density (of 25 percent or greater) at the outset of the study. They were randomized into five different treatment groups: Two groups received differing dosages of the anti-estrogen drug Raloxifene (60 mg and 30 mg), one group received the prescription omega-3 drug Lovaza (4 gm) and one group received 30 mg of Raloxifene combined with 4 gm of Lovaza. A control group received no treatment.
After two years, the researchers reported an association between increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and reduced breast density, but only among the 20 percent of the participants who were obese. In particular, the researchers singled out DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as the fatty acid associated with breast density reduction. The next step is to examine the effects of DHA on its own in a trial involving obese participants.
The study authors believe these results support the theory that omega-3s -- particularly DHA -- are protective in obese postmenopausal women.