Fish oil is a nutritional superstar that has garnered significant attention for its remarkable health benefits. The benefits of fish oil are underrated. Derived from the tissues of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fats play a crucial role in promoting overall well-being and have been extensively studied for their positive impact on various aspects of health.
From heart health and brain function to joint support and inflammation management, the potential benefits of fish oil are vast and continue to fascinate researchers and health enthusiasts alike. Let’s dive into the science-backed advantages of fish oil and explore how incorporating this nutrient-rich supplement into your daily routine can enhance your overall health and vitality.
EPA: The Omega-3 Fatty Acid
When the Senate Diet Goals were released by a blue-ribbon panel of nutrition experts in 1977, they included the recommendation to decrease fat intake from 40% of calories to 30%. Yet, experts then looked at the Greenland Eskimos, who get 60% of their calories from fat and practically no dietary fiber, yet mysteriously had little cancer or heart disease. Three factors saved these people from an otherwise disastrous diet:
1) genetic adaption, at least 40,000 years to adjust to this uniquely skewed diet
2) fish oil, which contains a very special and highly unsaturated fat, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
3) no sugar in the diet, which helps the body make PGE-1, a healthy prostaglandin
The Miracles of EPA – A significant benefit of fish oil
EPA is, essentially, Nature’s anti-freeze. In the Arctic regions of the world, the ocean temperature drops to below freezing, yet water-based life will explode at that temperature, like leaving out a water balloon on a sub-freezing night. Nature provides the algae in the ocean with this special fat, EPA, which prevents freezing and bursting at low temperatures.
Smaller fish eat the algae, and bigger fish eat the smaller fish, until we have major concentrations of EPA in cold water fish. These cold water fish are cod, salmon, mackerel, tuna, krill and sardines. Krill is a small shrimp like creature that lives in the Antarctic Ocean and feeds on phytoplankton (small plants). During feeding season, one whale can eat up to 8000 pounds of krill daily. Krill oil has shown impressive benefits in human ailments, including cancer.
An Essential Nutrient: Exploring the Health Benefits of Fish Oil
The potential advantages of fish oil are boundless, captivating both researchers and health enthusiasts. Fish oil supports heart health, optimizes brain function, promotes joint health and helps manage inflammation. There are many scientifically-backed advantages of fish oil and incorporating this nutrient-rich supplement into your daily regimen. Fish oil can elevate your overall health and vitality.
Potential Advantages and Health Benefits of Fish Oil
- Support heart health and fights heart disease
- Reduce incidence of sudden heart attack
- Reduce infant development abnormalities
- Suppress autoimmune disorders (i.e. lupus and multiple sclerosis)
- Reduce Crohn’s disease
- Lower incidence of cancer of breast, prostate, colon
- Helps manage hypertension
- Fights Rheumatoid arthritis
Fish Oil Discourages Cancer Growth
Fish Oil changes membrane fluidity
Cell membranes contain fats that are a direct reflection of our diet, including the unnatural hydrogenated fats found in Crisco and Pop Tarts. When we are talking about dietary fats, the old saying is literally true, “you are what you eat.” Cell membranes that are fluid and flexible and allow the proper nutrients to pass into the cell will improve overall wellness, thus discouraging abnormal cell growths, like cancer.
Cells that are flexible with EPA can squeeze down narrow capillaries to feed the distant tissue. Cells that are rigid with too much saturated or hydrogenated fat or having been “tanned” from too much sugar in the blood. This cannot move down narrow capillaries, like a car trying to get down a hotel hallway.
Bolster immune functions with PGE-1
Bolster immune function by reducing the stickiness of cells for less risk of metastasis. PGE-1 also bolsters immune functions, dilates blood vessels, elevates production of estrogen receptors, and provides other benefits for the cancer patient.
Slows tumor growth in animals
Studies have shown promising results regarding the potential anti-cancer effects of fish oil in animals. Research conducted on various animal models indicates that the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may play a role in slowing tumor growth and inhibiting the spread of cancer cells.
These beneficial effects are believed to be linked to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s, which can help suppress the pro-inflammatory pathways associated with cancer development. While further research is needed to fully understand the impact of fish oil on human cancer, these animal studies provide valuable insights and add to the growing body of evidence supporting the potential health benefits of incorporating fish oil into the diet.
Augments medical therapies using fish oil
EPA improves tumor kill in hyperthermia and chemotherapy by altering cancer cell membranes for increased vulnerability. Increases the ability of adriamycin to kill cultured leukemia cells. Tumors in EPA-fed animals are more responsive to Mitomycin C and doxorubicin (chemotherapy drugs). EPA and GLA were selectively toxic to human tumor cell lines while also enhancing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy.
Fish oil may help against hormone related cancers
Studies suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may exert protective effects against certain hormone-related cancers, such as breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
These beneficial effects are thought to be attributed to the anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties of omega-3s, which can help regulate cell growth and suppress inflammation that contributes to cancer development. More research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved.
An EPA-rich diet significantly lowered the levels of estradiol, a marker for breast cancer, in the 25 women studied who were at risk for breast cancer. Modulates estrogen metabolism for reduced risk and spreading of breast cancer.
Benefits of fish oil for improved outcome in cancer treatment
Fish oil has emerged as a promising supplement in the realm of cancer treatment, showcasing its potential to improve outcomes for patients. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fish oil offers a range of health benefits that can complement traditional cancer therapies. Studies have suggested that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, enhance the body’s immune response, and inhibit tumor growth.
Fish oil has shown promise in managing the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, offering relief from symptoms like fatigue and nausea. As researchers continue to delve into the potential benefits of fish oil in cancer treatment, its role as a supportive therapy in improving treatment outcomes becomes increasingly apparent, providing hope for those on the path to recovery.
End of life improvement: Significant health benefit of fish oil
In a study examining end-stage refractory cancer patients who have exhausted all chemo and radiation options, fish oil supplements provided a substantial improvement in length of life and immune functions compared to placebo.
- anti-cachectic; prevents and reverses wasting syndrome
- induces apoptosis (suicide) in cancer cells
- upregulates immune function
- reduces stickiness of cells to slow metastasis
- improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood glucose, impairs tumor angiogenesis (making of blood vessels)
Flax oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor to EPA. While flax oil is cheaper and more palatable than fish oil, it requires enzyme conversion steps in the body to turn flax oil (ALA) into fish oil (EPA). ALA converts to EPA at about 4% the efficiency of giving fish oil. ALA converts very poorly to EPA if the diet has any meaningful amount (3% kcal) of polyunsaturated fats (e.g. soy, corn, safflower). One study found that the more flax meal was fed to lab animals, the fewer and smaller were the metastatic tumors spreading from the implanted melanoma cancer.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil is renowned for its impressive nutritional profile, and the spotlight is on its exceptional health benefits. Sourced from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, fish oil is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fats play a pivotal role in enhancing overall well-being and have undergone extensive research for their positive impact on various aspects of health.
Incorporating fish oil into a balanced diet may be a valuable strategy in supporting overall health and potentially reducing the risk of hormonally driven cancers.
(Excerpt from Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin)