We know that both fish oil and flaxseed oil can help prevent breast cancer. But is one better than the other? Many women have asked me this question. Fortunately, a researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario wanted to find out the answer. His results can help guide your dietary choices.
This researcher looked at omega-3 fatty acids from both marine sources and plant sources. Marine sources like fish, algae, and phytoplankton contain the omega-3s you’re probably most familiar with. They’re called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA tend to get the most buzz.
But plants like flaxseed also contain an omega-3 fatty acid. It’s called a-linolenic acid (ALA). And researchers have also linked ALA to cancer-fighting effects.
This researcher decided to pit the oils against each other for treating a form of breast cancer called HER-2. HER-2 is very aggressive. The researcher worked with genetically engineered mice that were particularly susceptible to HER-2. But he also gave them tools to fight it: exposure to either ALA or EPA and DHA in utero. He wanted to see if one group would fare better than the other.
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Sure enough, the EPA/DHA group got great results. Their tumors shrunk by 60 to 70%. They also experienced a 30% decrease in the number of tumors.
But the ALA mice got similar results. There was a catch — they needed more ALA for it to be effective. Still, they also experienced improvements in tumor size and frequency.
So, it’s possible to make the claim that DHA and EPA are better than ALA. However, all of these oils support the immune system, affect gene expression, and block tumor growth mechanisms. And ALA can work in different ways than DHA and EPA. Therefore, I think the answer is to include both sources.
If you only want to make one change to your diet, I suppose you should focus on incorporating two to three servings of seafood a week. That’s what the researcher recommends. But there is an even easier solution to this “dilemma”: take Complete Daily Oils. It contains EPA, DHA, and ALA.
Eating fish two to three times a week is a good idea. So is consuming flax and other plant-based sources of ALA. Both strategies will help prevent breast cancer. And when that happens, everyone wins.
Better Health and Living for Women,
Jiajie Liu, Salma A. Abdelmagid, Christopher J. Pinelli, Jennifer M. Monk, Danyelle M. Liddle, Lyn M. Hillyer, Barbora Hucik, Anjali Silva, Sanjeena Subedi, Geoffrey A. Wood, Lindsay E. Robinson, William J. Muller, David W.L. Ma. Marine fish oil is more potent than plant based n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the prevention of mammary tumours. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.12.011