Every Nutrient
    Omega 3 Benefits

    Omega 3 Benefits Include Cutting Colon Cancer Risk

    Your doctor will tell you that a diet rich in fish oil and other food high in omega-3s is good for your heart – working to cut the risk of hardening of the arteries, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, sudden cardiac death and even heart failure. But now some new research hints that omega 3 benefits might also include cutting your colon cancer risk as well. This form of cancer starts in the large intestine and often brings no symptoms. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish like salmon, tuna and halibut, algae and krill, seed oils (walnut oil and flaxseed oil) and leafy green veggies.

    Work in animals and some small studies in people has found that fish oil supplementation can bring down inflammation, and might also have some cancer-fighting ability. To date, research looking at diets of larger groups of subjects has brought results that aren’t so certain.

    In search of answers, researchers looked at the relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and bowel cancer risk in 1,503 white subjects (including 716 colon cancer patients,787 healthy controls) and 369 African American (213 with colon cancer, 156 controls) subjects.

    Among whites, those who’s omega-3 intake was in the top fourth had half the risk of colon cancer compared to those in the bottom fourth. When the team looked separately at the two main fatty acids in fish oil – eicosapentaenoic acids and docosahexaenoic acids – they saw the colon cancer risk also fell with increasing intake.

    Researchers also looked at whites and blacks together where they found a lower risk of colon cancer with increasing intake of omega-3s. A separate analysis of the black participants didn’t find this same relationship.

    There was an “unexpected” association between the higher omega 3 intake and colon cancer in African American subjects, but the team suggests caution in interpreting this result. It might have been due to chance, though nevertheless they conclude further evaluation would be beneficial.

    The team also found that subjects who consumed more omega 6 fatty acids in relation to omega-3s were more likely to have colon cancer.

    People in the U.S. typically eat more omega 6 fatty acids (found in palm oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil) than the omega-3 fats. Omega 6 intake in itself didn’t affect cancer risk.

    Our bodies can’t make omega-3 fatty acids on their own, so 500 milligrams a day of the components EPA (eiosapentaenoic acid) plus DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is what’s recommended for healthy adults. Getting good fats from food is the best way to go, as 90% of the nutrient (vs. 50% of the supplement form) are absorbed into the body.

    If you do decide to use fish oil or other supplements to get the omega-3 you need, remember that even in the U.S., these products aren’t as regulated as they should be. Stay away from “too good to be true” claims, or products backed by research that isn’t printed in a respected, peer reviewed journal.

    Reputable manufactures will point out the quality manufacturing processes they use, which all add to the omega 3 benefits. Know too that fish oil capsules can contain the same contaminants as fresh fish, and have been known to leave you with an unpleasant body odor. Never, under any circumstances, take more than the amount recommended on the bottle, and be sure to talk with your doctor before you begin any supplementing program to minimizes colon cancer risk.

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