If you’re a woman concerned about breast health and you can’t stomach the taste of fish, ensure you take fish oils (EPA and DHA). And if you do like fish, you’ll still want to take EPA/DHA supplements. Here’s why.
In a meta-analysis (study of studies) in the British Medical Journal, researchers investigated the association between consumption of fish and omega 3 EFAs (essential fatty acids) in a dose-response manner and the risk of breast cancer. Overall, the scientists evaluated 26 studies that included approximately 30,000 cases of breast cancer among a total of approximately 883,500 subjects; 11 of those studies delved into consumption of fish, 17 looked at Omega 3 EFA consumption, and 12 looked at alpha linolenic acid and breast cancer risk. Yes, there are some duplicates here, as some studies often compare one source with another to measure outcome.
Overall, through their exhaustive statistical research process, the study authors saw a clear advantage in breast cancer risk reduction with marine-derived Omega 3 EFA supplementation over that of just eating fish or supplementing with alpha linolenic acid. The supplements seemed to reduce breast cancer risk by 14%, while there really was no statistically significant relationship between fish eating and ALA supplementation and risk of breast cancer.
Because any cancer is a multi-factorial disease (many causes), we’re not saying that EPA/DHA supplements will prevent it. This study, however, serves to illuminate that among the many other health-protective benefits of taking Omega 3 EFAs daily, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, breast health may be supported as well. Oh — and annual mammograms for early detection will save lives when early stage breast cancer is found.