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Salmon may help to prevent breast cancer

Salmon is more effective at preventing breast cancer than flaxseeds, new research suggests.

Fish-sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in hemp oil, reduce tumors’ size by between 60 and 70 percent, and numbers by 30 percent, in mice with a severe form of the disease, a study found.

Plant-based sources can also inhibit and treat breast tumors but are required at a higher dose, the research adds.

Previous studies show omega-3s prevent and fight cancer by activating genes associating with the immune system and blocking tumor-growth pathways. 

The researchers recommend people eat between two and three servings of oily fish a week to maximize their omega-3 intake.

Study author Professor David Ma from the University of Guelph in Ontario, said: ‘In North America, we don’t get enough omega-3s from seafood, so there lies an opportunity to improve our diet and help prevent the risk of breast cancer.’

Around one in eight women in the US will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes. 

Salmon helps to prevent breast cancer, new research suggests (stock)


Gum disease increases women’s risk of breast cancer up to three times, research suggested in December 2017.

This is thought to be due to the bacteria that causes inflammation in the mouth entering the circulation via the gums and going into breast tissue, which can result in cancer.

Speaking of the study’s findings, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: ‘Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body.’

Severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, can affect the bones in people’s jaws and cause teeth to fall out.

Previous research reveals up to 54 per cent of adults in the UK have gum disease to some extent. 

Researchers from the University of Santa Maria in Brazil analysed 201 women visiting the department of gynecology at the study university’s hospital between April 2013 and June 2015.

Of the trial’s participants, 67 had breast cancer.

All of the participants were assessed for gum inflammation at six sites per tooth. 

How the research was carried out   

The researchers fed mice with a highly aggressive form of human breast cancer, known as HER-2, different types of omega-3.

From the time the mice were still in the womb, they were exposed to either plant or marine-based forms of the nutrient.

Dr Ma said: ‘The mice were exposed to the different omega-3s even before tumors developed, which allowed us to compare how effective the fatty acids are at prevention.’ 

‘Omega-3s will likely be beneficial for other types of cancer’  

Results further reveal plant-based forms of omega-3 have the same impact as fish sources but are required at higher doses.  

As well as eating more fish, the researchers recommend people supplement their diets and eat fortified foods. 

Dr Ma said: ‘In North America, we don’t get enough omega-3s from seafood, so there lies an opportunity to improve our diet and help prevent the risk of breast cancer.’ 

They hope to investigate omega-3s in other types of the disease.

Dr Ma said: ‘Seeing the significant benefits omega-3s can have in combating a highly aggressive form of breast cancer means omega-3s will likely be beneficial for other types of cancer.’ 

The findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 


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