Omega-3 Fatty Acids Kill Cultured Breast Cancer Cells
Posted May 16 2011 11:08am
We hear a lot about dietary fat, either in regards to limiting it as much as possible or only eating the right kinds of dietary fat. It is clear that we need some fat in our diet in order to fully meet our nutritional needs; however, numerous studies have shown the importance of choosing the right kinds of fats in the right amounts. Polyunsaturated fats, which include the omega-3 fats, are one of the healthiest fats we can choose. These fats have been reported to have a number of nutritional and health benefits. In fact, research studies have suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA might decrease breast cancer risk, enhance breast cancer outcomes, and enhance chemotherapy benefits .
Research studies, including one newly published study ( free to download ), continue to examine the benefits and actions of these dietary fats on breast cancer. In this new breast cancer study, investigators examined the effect of EPA and DHA, the two main omega-3 fatty acids, on cultured beast cancer cells. Changes in cell growth, cell death, epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors, and more were analyzed after treating two types of breast cancer cells with these omega-3 fats. The researchers indicated that
Both EPA and DHA induced programmed cell death in both breast cancer cell types. In contrast, treatment with arachidonic acid, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat, did not cause breast cancer cell death.
Both EPA and DHA reduced the production of the Bcl-2 protein, a protein that acts to protect breast cancer cells from dying.
EPA and DHA also both suppressed the activation of EGF receptors, suggesting that these omega-3 fatty acids can help fight breast cancer development associated with this growth factor.
This new study examining the possible benefits of omega-3 fats for breast cancer confirms previous studies showing that these two omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) have breast cancer fighting benefits. Each of these omega-3 fats appear to fight breast cancer in multiple ways. According to this latest study, EPA and DHA are incorporated directly into the breast cancer cell membranes where they they are able to induce cell death, block cell protection mechanisms, and possibly reduce the effect of growth factors on breast cancer cell growth. Overall, this and earlier studies continue to point out the importance of adding omega-3 fats to our diets. These fats are found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and tuna, which make good, healthy choices to add to your regular diet if you are looking to increase your dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.