Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle followed 35,016 postmenopausal women for 6 years. Those that regularly took a fish oil capsule, which is high in the omega 3 oils EPA and DHA, had a 32% risk reduction for invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease.
The lead researcher, Emily White, from their public health research division, seemed almost apologetic for the good news and cautioned against any broad public health recommendation for postmenopausal women to take fish oil for the prevention of breast cancer until more studies are done. Excuse me, Emily, why would you caution against a no-risk preventive strategy when it would save tens of thousands of lives? This is yet one more example of why the vitamin-hating Big Pharma drug cartel that operates health care and public health in this country is such a disservice to all Americans.
I reported in March that fish oil reduced the rate of the most aggressive form of prostate cancer by 63%. When you combine this information with all the other science on fish oil relating to memory, mood, weight management, and cardiovascular health then it becomes plain that American public health officials should be actively recommending fish oil supplements for the general prevention specifically to help with the prevention of the diseases associated with aging. No drug remotely approaches the sweeping benefits of fish oil, especially DHA.
DHA from fish oil accumulates in cell membranes everywhere in your body, where it acts as a potent gene-regulating nutrient. You either get it in your diet or from dietary supplements or you simply don't have it in adequate amounts in your cell membranes for optimal function. Science shows that fish oil can turn down overheated NF-kappaB, which is the primary inflammatory gene signal within cells that is hijacked in all forms of cancer. A German review of the fish oil anti-cancer research was published in May of 2009, explaining multiple ways in which fish oil positively works against cancer and reviewing the extensive animal and cell science up to that time.
What is interesting about this subject is that too much inflammation is clearly a feature of every disease of aging, cancer included. However, the typical Western medicine logic of taking anti-inflammatory sledgehammers and using them to pound on cells has never produced the expected benefits, and in the case of Vioxx produced just the opposite. This is because drugs and all pain-killing medications force themselves on cells. While this can have some benefit for short-term pain management the regular use of such compounds, including aspirin, is highly risky.
On the other hand, numerous nutrients possess high-level anti-inflammatory activity, oftentimes regulating the very same inflammatory signals that drugs are trying to address. So what is the difference? Nutrients work in harmony with cells to manage cell function in the proper direction. Our bodies have innate wisdom to use nutrition to assist in function. There is a constant state of inflammation vs. anti-inflammation going on every day of everyone's life. If you didn't get inflamed every day you would never get tired at night! Health problems occur when the trend of inflammation overloads the anti-inflammation balance.
Most anti-inflammatory nutrients work as a system of reserves, meaning they are called into action when needed to assist inflammation reduction. The latest science shows that when cells become inflamed then part of the response is for the DHA in cell membranes to send a signal to the macrophages (immune cells) that are responding to the inflammation. Macrophages, in this context, are like the paramedics arriving at the inflammatory scene in response to a 911 call from the cell in stress. Now we learn that when DHA from cell membranes signals the macrophages it triggers the production of anti-inflammatory molecules within the macrophage that will help it to manage and then quell the inflammation.
This is the cutting edge of science, a type of new medical frontier. Scientists have now coined a phrase for the anti-inflammatory molecules that the EPA and DHA of fish oil can produce. The term is resolvins, short for proresolving mediators. They aren't sledgehammers, they are managers of healthy function. They don't go into action unless you need them. And unless your cell membranes have adequate amounts of EPA and especially DHA, this entire defense system is handicapped, in turn setting the stage for excessive inflammation and risk for disease.
The fatty acids in your cell membranes directly reflect what you eat. Saturated fat is never a problem unless it is consumed in excess and without any DHA in the diet. Omega 9 oils like olive oil are very good and help support better DHA content of cell membranes. Some omega 6 oils like vegetable oils are normal, but in today's society these are overdone in relationship to the lack of EPA and DHA. If you want cell membranes made out of junk then eat French fries, potato chips, and corn chips as staples of your diet. A fish oil capsule typically contains around 100 mg of the vital DHA, although higher potency DHA capsules made from molecularly distilled fish oil are now available (free of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins). Doses of 250 mg to 1000 mg of DHA represent an intake for basic health, with higher levels more relevant to those working on weight management, brain function, or cardiovascular concerns. Doses ranging from 1000 mg of DHA all the way up to 3000 mg of DHA can assist in reversing the lack of DHA in existing cell membranes. Cell membrane deficiency can usually be corrected within two to three months of higher-level intake.