A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids slows the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in female mice, according to new study. The survival of the mice was also improved by diet rich in omega-3.
READ ALSO: 12 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Consume
Omega-3 fatty acids are fond in fish, seafood, fish oil, plant oils, nuts, and seeds.
Omega-3s may with depression, mental health, and improve cardiovascular and cognitive function, according to some studies.
Experiments in mice has now added to the rising evidence that dietary omega-3s may help fight cancer.
A new paper published in the Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia suggests that fatty acids could prevent breast cancer cells from spreading.
The new research was led by Saraswoti Khadge, a former doctoral researcher in the laboratory of James Talmadge, a professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Fish oil may reduce tumors
Two groups of adult female rodents were fed almost identical diets. However, the main difference was that one group ate a diet rich in olive oil-derived omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, whereas the other group were given food containing omega-3-rich fish oil.
READ ALSO: Eating Fish Can Prevent Breast Cancer
Khadge and team the researchers then injected the mice with 4T1 breast cancer cells, which cause tumors to spread quickly to the breast glands. Also, 4T1 cells can spontaneously migrate to other sites, including the liver, lungs, and bones.
After 35 days, the team sacrificed and autopsied the mice, revealing the effects of the two diets.
The breast cancer cells were “significantly” less likely to have spread to the breast glands in the rodents that received fish oil. The tumors that did develop in the breast glands also grew more slowly, this gradually affected their size.
The breast gland tumors in the omega-3 group were 50 percent smaller than those in the omega-6 group. Cancer cells were less likely to spread to other parts of the body in the omega-3 group, and these rodents also had better survival rates.
READ ALSO: 7 Best Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer
From the results, Prof. Talmadge said, “The studies by Khadge provided insight not only on the impact of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on tumor growth and metastasis but also on the sites of metastasis.”
“Thus, not only were common metastasis sites reduced but also secondary tumor growth in the ovaries, kidneys, and contralateral breasts,” reports Prof. Talmadge.
Interestingly, the tissues of the omega-3 mice revealed more T cells than those of their omega-6 counterparts. T cells are anti-inflammatory white blood cells that play a crucial role in keeping the immune system strong and healthy.
Khadge and team concludes that a diet rich in fish oil may prevent the spread of tumors by restricting the inflammation that causes metastasis.