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Elevating omega-3 reduces breast cancer incidence in animal model

Elevating omega-3 reduces breast cancer incidence in animal model

Tuesday, February 26, 2013. The January 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry published the finding of researchers at Ontario's Guelph University of a protective effect for increased omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in mice bred to develop mammary cancer.

Professor David Ma of Guelph University's Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences and his associates bred mice capable of synthesizing their own omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with another breed that develops aggressive mammary cancer. Their offspring were monitored throughout their lives for the onset of tumors, and tumor and mammary gland tissue were assessed for omega-3 levels. An additional group of mammary cancer-prone mice were fed diets enriched with omega-3 and were similarly monitored.

Animals bred to manufacture omega-3 developed one-third fewer tumors than breast-cancer prone mice that did not produce the fatty acids, and their tumors were smaller. They also had higher tumor levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of omega-6. Similar findings were obtained in the mice that were given omega-3 in their diets. "Using complementary genetic and conventional dietary approaches we provide, for the first time, unequivocal experimental evidence that omega-3 PUFA is causally linked to tumor prevention," the authors conclude.

"It's a significant finding," Dr Ma said. "We show that lifelong exposure to omega-3s has a beneficial role in disease prevention – in this case, breast cancer prevention. What's important is that we have proven that omega-3s are the driving force and not something else."

"This model provides a purely genetic approach to investigate the effects of lifelong omega-3s exposure on breast cancer development," he added. "To our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer."

"The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumor development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention," he continued. "Prevention is an area of growing importance. We are working to build a better planet, and that includes better lifestyle and diet. The long-term consequences of reducing disease incidence can have a tremendous effect on the health-care system."

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What's Hot Highlight

Reduced vitamin D levels immediately prior to diagnosis associated with greater risk of breast cancer

What's Hot

An article that appeared online this month in the journal Cancer Causes and Control reports an association between decreased serum levels of vitamin D and a greater risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women serving in the military.

The study included 600 women with breast cancer and 600 healthy, age-matched control subjects who were active-duty members of the U.S. military service. Prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of those with breast cancer were compared with serum vitamin D levels of the control subjects.

While no significant associations between vitamin D and breast cancer were observed, when the analysis was restricted to those whose vitamin D levels were measured no more than 90 days prior to diagnosis, a different picture emerged. For this group, having a serum vitamin D level that was among the lowest one-fifth of participants was associated with a more than three-times greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in comparison with the risk experienced by women whose levels were among the top fifth. Lead researcher Cedric Garland, DrPH, who is a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, believes that this time period may be important because it is likely to be the phase in which tumors most actively recruit blood vessels required for their growth.

"While the mechanisms by which vitamin D could prevent breast cancer are not fully understood, this study suggests that the association with low vitamin D in the blood is strongest late in the development of the cancer," Dr Garland stated. "Based on these data, further investigation of the role of vitamin D in reducing incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, particularly during the late phases of its development, is warranted."

March 2013 Life Extension Magazine® Now Available in Electronic Format

March 2013 Life Extension Magazine® Now Available in Electronic Format

As we see it: The looming doctor shortage, by William Faloon
Find out about the looming physician shortage, how to reverse this deadly trend, and what you can do to reduce your odds of becoming a victim.

Carnitine restores cellular function, by Logan Bronwell
A wealth of published data documents the ability of carnitine to improve insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial function, and cardiovascular health.

Nutritional strategies to combat Alzheimer's, by Liam Hawkins Scientists are uncovering hormones, nutrients, and drugs that take aim at the multiple pathologies involved in the development of Alzheimer's, thus providing a roadmap as to what maturing humans can do to prevent this epidemic calamity.

Leeza Gibbons: All in against Alzheimer's, by Jon Finkel After watching her mother suffer the devastation of Alzheimer's, Emmy award winner Leeza Gibbons founded Leeza's Place to provide resources for those caring for Alzheimer's patients.

Highlights from The Wireless Connectivity in Medical Devices Conference, by Ben Best
New digital devices can now help overworked doctors provide better care and monitoring for their patients, avoiding deadly medication errors and misdiagnosis.

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